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Beacon's Fixed Annuity Premium Study Reports Third Quarter's Bank Channel Sales

EVANSTON, Ill., Nov. 21, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- U.S. bank sales of fixed annuities were an estimated $9.2 billion in third quarter, 2008, according to new data from the Beacon Research Fixed Annuity Premium Study (1). The quarter's sales were 80% above third quarter, 2007, and up 4% from the prior quarter. On a year-to-date basis, estimated sales were $24.9 billion, 90% ahead of results in the first three quarters of 2007 (2).

AEGON/Transamerica Companies led in the bank channel for the first time in the Study's six-year history. Third quarter results for the top ten Study participants were as follows:

                                             Bank Channel Sales
                                               (in thousands)
 AEGON/Transamerica Companies (NYSE:AEG)         1,664,502
 AIG Annuity Insurance Co. (NYSE:AIG)            1,605,800
 New York Life                                   1,481,668
 Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG)              611,018
 Allstate Financial (NYSE:ALL)                    488,882
 Genworth Financial Companies (NYSE:GNW)          427,363
 Jackson National Life                             343,896
 W&S Financial Group Distributors(3)               297,364
 Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF)                     187,578
 John Hancock (NYSE:MFC)                           157,924
 Hartford Life (NYSE:HIG)                          154,640

For the second consecutive quarter, the top bank channel fixed annuity was issued by New York Life. Allstate Choice Rate was the only MVA among third quarter's top ten bank channel products, with the others being book value annuities. Third quarter results include sales of some 130 products sold in financial institutions (4).

 Rank Company Name          Product Name                 Product Type

 1    New York Life         NYL Fixed Annuity            Book Value
 2    AEGON/Transamerica    Transamerica Capital         Book Value
                            Builder 2007
 3    AIG Annuity           Flex 5                       Book Value
 4    AEGON/Transamerica    Proprietary Bank Product 7   Book Value
 5    AIG Annuity           Flex 7                       Book Value
 6    Allstate Financial    Allstate ChoiceRate          MVA
 7    New York Life         NYL Preferred Fixed Annuity  Book Value
 8    Western-Southern Life MultiRate Annuity            Book Value
 9    AEGON/Transamerica    Proprietary Bank Product 6   Book Value
 10   AIG Annuity           Proprietary Bank Product C   Book Value

 (1) This category includes credit unions and savings and loan
 (2) Sales figures include fixed rate (book value and MVA), indexed
     and immediate annuities. They do not include structured
 (3) W&S Financial Group Distributors is the wholesale distributor
     for Western & Southern Financial Group. It distributes annuities
     from Western & Southern Life, Integrity Life and National
     Integrity Life (New York).
 (4) This total excludes immediate annuities.

"Bank sales of fixed annuities began to improve in fourth quarter, 2007 and have grown explosively ever since relative to the same period in the prior year," said Jeremy Alexander, CEO of Beacon Research. "Throughout 2008, we've seen double-digit growth in sales of all product types except indexed annuities. Conditions improved in third quarter. The yield curve spread widened, giving fixed rate annuities a competitive advantage over bank certificates of deposit, and credited rates were higher for most of the quarter. Given the current interest rate environment, fourth quarter's bank sales should be even stronger. But we'll see another increase only if risk-adverse bank customers continue to feel safe entrusting their money to the life insurance industry despite the well-publicized problems of some companies."

About the Beacon Research Fixed Annuity Premium Study

The quarterly Study is the first and only source to track and analyze product-level fixed annuity sales on an ongoing basis. Providing timely market intelligence of the highest quality, it's designed to report what's moving in each channel and why. The extent of Study participation is testimony to the need for this information.

About Beacon Research

Founded in 1997, Beacon is an independent research organization and application service provider, supplying fixed annuity product information with search and reporting tools to banks, TPMs, insurance companies and other subscribers to its web-based systems at Beacon also licenses information and software tools to other platforms, including websites for sales representatives and EbixExchange's AnnuityNet transaction platform. Beacon's fixed annuity credited rate benchmark series -- the industry's first -- is available through Ibbotson Associates. Directly and through strategic alliances, Beacon information can be accessed by hundreds of financial institutions and distributors.

The Beacon Research logo is available at

CONTACT:  Beacon Research 
          Judith Alexander

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