New variable annuity (VA) sales rose 8.7% in the second quarter of 2010, to $33.9 billion from $31.2 billion in the first quarter, also up 8.5% from the second-quarter 2009 level of $31.3 billion. This is the highest level new quarterly sales have reached since the third quarter of 2008. New sales rose 6.6% for the year-to-date period, to $65.15 billion from $61.1 billion for the same period in 2009.

On the other hand, assets under management fell for the first time since the first quarter of 2009, due primarily to negative market returns. As of June 30, 2010, total assets in variable annuities were $1.3 billion, down 5.7% from first-quarter assets, but still 11.3% higher than the $1,185.3 billion under management in VA products as of the end of the second quarter of 2009.

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