Positioning Fixed Indexed Annuities During the Recession

  • Originally published March 19, 2009 , last updated April 28, 2016
Positioning Fixed Indexed Annuities During the Recession

When you ask your clients what they’re looking for right now, what do they say?

“I want my money to be safe, grow quickly and be accessible."

Okay, they probably won't say exactly that, but it will likely be something similar. If these are the desires your client has expressed to you, an indexed annuity might be right for them.

Fixed Indexed Annuities Offer:

  • Safety — If the index declines, an index annuity retains its value and loses nothing
  • Growth  — Premium bonuses, tax deferral and index-linked interest help your money grow
  • Access  — There is always a trade-off between access, safety and growth. For example, with a checking account, you get safety and access, but little growth. An annuity gives you safety and growth, with some limits to access. But, index annuities build in enough access to allow annual withdrawals.

A History Lesson

Now, a history lesson from earlier this decade. The last recession in the U.S. occurred in 2001. Per the Advantage Compendium, index annuity sales in 2001 increased over 2000 levels by 20%. In 2002, while the stock market continued to plunge for a second straight year, index annuity sales increased by 80%. People start to place a tremendous value upon the features of index annuities during tough economic times.

Flip a Coin

One of the simplest ways to describe index annuities is to compare their interest crediting to flipping a coin. In any given year, the market index can only do one of two things: go up (heads) or go down (tails). When the coin comes up heads, you get interest credited. In fact, the more the index goes up, the more you get credited. When the coin comes up tails, you lose nothing. Now, imagine playing with a weighted coin that is more likely to come up heads than tails. That’s the power of the index annuity. In the last 50 calendar years, the S&P 500 increased 37 years and decreased only 13 years.

Popularity of FIAs Grows

The bargain of an index annuity — growth potential in an up market and asset protection in a down market — greatly appeals to consumers who are unnerved by market volatility. There has never been a better time to help your clients understand the fundamental value of fixed indexed annuities, and therefore the value you bring by making them available.

The recent addition of guaranteed withdrawal benefits and guaranteed income benefits to index annuities — features already shown to be very popular on variable annuities — makes index annuities even more attractive. So, if you are an annuity sales agent, every time you see a piece of bad economic news, just remember that it makes annuities that much more attractive to your client base. If you work to aggressively grow your practice, your business could be up dramatically.