July 2014: Annuities

This Broker Monitor Report reviews the proprietary, private-label and third-party annuities offered and promoted by the firms in our coverage group. We take specific notice of any proprietary or private-label annuities offered by firms, and provide a breakdown of the key features of each individual product. Additionally, we briefly look at information that firms make readily available to potential investors online. We focused on several facets of the annuity landscape for this topic:

  • What types of annuity products are offered by the firm?
  • Which insurance companies are provided to us as the firm’s “preferred/top tier” annuity carriers?
  • What annuity information is offered online?

Of the 19 firms in the Broker Monitor coverage group, 13 provide customers with annuity products. Each of the 13 firms provides clients with all of the major annuity product types, including fixed, income and variable products. Each of these firms also offers clients access to at least one annuity product that comes with optional living benefit riders, death benefit riders or both.

Every firm covered in this report, except one, works with third-party insurance companies to provide customers with access to a variety of product options. In most cases, these 12 firms are able to work with any third-party insurance firm to provide customers with a specific annuity product; however, brokerage firms typically have a preferred list of annuity carriers with which they have existing marketing relationships and compensation agreements. In conducting our research, we found 23 different insurance firms that appear on the preferred lists of at least one Broker Monitor firm, with six providers appearing on the preferred lists of at least five brokerage firms. Finally, the four firms that offer proprietary or private label products also feature individual annuity product details online.

Additional key findings include:

  • Approximately, 68% of the firms within the Broker Monitor coverage group provide customers with access to annuity products.
  • Only 85% of firms covered in this report offer the most basic annuity overview content.
  • Only two firms offer proprietary annuities to customers.