Sales were off for the first half of the year, as well. For the first six months of 2012, annuity sales totaled $111.8 billion, down 8% from the year-ago period.
"The current economic conditions remain challenging for most insurers, driving overall annuity sales down," Joseph Montminy, LIMRA's assistant vice president of Annuity Research, said in a statement.
The one bright spot were indexed annuities, which drew $8.6 billion in sales in the second quarter, and $16.7 billion in the first six months of 2012, up 6% and 10%, respectively, from the year-ago period.
Variable annuity sales totaled $38.6 billion in the second quarter, a 5% decline from the second quarter in 2011. They totaled $75.4 billion for the first six months of 2012, down 10% from a year ago.
Fixed annuities registered an even bigger decline in sales. In the second quarter, fixed annuity sales dropped 14% to $18.4 billion when compared to the same quarter one year ago. Sales of fixed annuities for the first six months totaled $36.4 billion, a 12% decline from the $41.3 billion in sales during the first half of 2011.
Of the different types of fixed annuities, book-value annuities took the hardest fall, bringing in a meager $5.5 billion in sales in the second quarter, down 34% from the same quarter a year ago. For the first half of 2012, book-value annuities totaled $11.3 billion, a 33% drop from 2011.
The top annuity writers in the second quarter were Jackson National Life, MetLife and Prudential Annuities, each registering more than $10 billion in sales.