By avoiding gimmicky riders, benefit reductions and higher prices, Jackson National Life Insurance reported its best year for annuity sales through banks in 2009.

"We heard a lot of skepticism," said Jack Mirshler, the western divisional vice president for the Lansing, Mich., unit of Prudential PLC of London. "We remained committed to our long-term approach. We weren't going to go out and create some hot product that would last for three months or do some fire sale on products. None of that made sense for our customers. We never wanted to be a company that chased market share with frivolous riders."

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