Buttressed by favorable interest rates and investors looking for shelter from falling equity prices, U.S. fixed annuity sales set a new quarterly record. Total U.S. sales of fixed annuities rose to an estimated $27.1 billion for the third quarter, according to a Beacon Research study of 51 insurance companies representing 87% of the market. Sales were up 54% from last year's third quarter, and up 10% from the previous quarter, marking the highest sales since the study began in 2003.

Total fixed annuity sales for the first three-quarters of 2008 were an estimated $70.6 billion, up 50% over 2007's three-quarter total. About $13.5 billion of the sales were in book value products, $6.9 billion in indexed, $4.2 billion in market value adjusted (MVA) and $2.4 billion in fixed immediate annuities.

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