Our Annuity Monitor research team now tracks new online product launches across the annuity space, covering over 90% of the U.S. market by total sales and analyzing digital product positioning as it pertains to curating a best-in-class digital user experience. In 2022, Annuity Monitor paid close attention to index-linked products after observing several years of sustained growth in sales of registered index-linked products (RILAs) and more recent record-setting levels of fixed-indexed (FIA) product sales.

A breakdown of product launches in 2022 closely reflects recent sales trends, with 15 of the 21 new annuity product launches being index-linked products (nine FIAs and six RILAs).

In a January 2022 analysis of RILA product positioning, Annuity Monitor found that firms categorize RILAs differently, with some firms referring to these products as registered index-linked annuities, others calling them index-linked variable annuities, and certain firms simply labeling them as variable annuities. The industry is yet to settle on a universal name. While firms commonly aim to distinguish annuity product types based on key features, firms that avoid overly specific product type labels, or include sufficient product type descriptions, can help avoid user confusion when viewing and comparing these complicated products.

Of the six new RILA product launches Annuity Monitor observed in 2022, two firms—Equitable and Sammons—avoided labeling products specifically as RILAs. Both firms instead positioned the new products as variable annuities. The other four firms that released new RILA products provide RILA-specific product type pages, label these products clearly as RILAs and highlight all important RILA-related product features. Both Equitable and Sammons provide some description of how their respective new index-linked products work but choose to focus on key features of their specific product offering rather than prioritizing explanations of the RILA product type.

  • Both firms position product information on general variable annuity product type pages but minimize information on investing in market indices, with Sammons mentioning this information in small text and Equitable excluding this information entirely from its product type page.
These two screenshots show pages with information on RILA products from Equitable and Sammons
Equitable and Sammons Public Site Variable Annuities Product Type Pages
  • Sammons positions its new product an indexed variable annuity because of the combination of investment options that includes market indices and separate variable investment accounts and provides downside protection, only labeling the product type on the provided fact sheet.
This screenshot shows Sammons LiveWell fact sheet
Sammons LiveWell Dynamic Annuity Facts at a Glance
  • Equitable places information about investing in indices at the bottom of the scrollable product page and in an embedded video about the product—a key feature offered in RILAs that should appear on more valuable page real estate, such as the top section.
    • The firm also does not mention its new product’s downside protection as a top highlight on the Variable Annuities product type page, instead centering its guaranteed income feature.
This screenshot from Equitable's public site shows product information for its RILA
Equitable Public Site Structured Capital Strategies Income Product Page

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