Variable annuities continued to surge in the second quarter of this year, with total sales reaching $40.9 billion, an increase of 16% over the same period last year, according to LIMRA, the Windsor, CT-based financial services research firm.

That pace slightly bested the $39.8 billion in sales recorded in the first quarter and brought the total sales of variable products for the first half of 2011 to $80.7 billion -- 20% higher than sales during the first half of 2010.

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