Index annuity sales were down 3% in the third quarter over the same period last year, according to the quarterly Advantage Group index sales survey. Sales were down 13% over the second quarter of 2002, with half of carriers reporting a drop.

In the third quarter, the 31 carriers that sell index annuities took in $20,073,376 in index annuity premiums. The leading carrier was Allianz Life, which brought in $921 million in premium. AmerUs Group was a distant second, at $392 million, and American Equity was close behind at $365 million.

Bonus annuities have declined in market share from 58.4% to 48.5%, and average commission has fallen to 8.10% from 10.44% a year ago. Commissions range from 3.57% to 12.14%.

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