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Financial Professionals Underestimate Appeal Of Annuities Among Consumers, Genworth Survey Finds

Addressing Concerns about Annuities

The survey found that the majority of annuity owners are satisfied with their purchase, and especially satisfied with their annuity's growth, expenses and access to funds, refuting the top objections that producers hear most often from consumers. 

Access: Seventy-eight percent of those who own annuities are satisfied with their level of access to their funds. It is important to note that while most annuities have surrender charge periods, generally between 5 and 10 years, and some also have a Market Value Adjustment, many allow up to 10 percent withdrawals of contract value each year free from surrender charges and a Market Value Adjustment.

Growth: Although 53 percent of consumers considering annuities are reluctant about purchasing them because they would rather invest directly in the market, financial professionals need only remind their clients about the casualties from the last financial crisis.

"As recent years have shown, for those in or nearing retirement, the risk of exposure to volatile markets may be too great for most seeking to grow assets intended to provide income for life," Gipple said. "Alternatively, fixed index annuities use interest crediting strategies linked to the performance of a market index, which provides both upside potential and downside protection."

Expense: The majority (70 percent) of annuity owners say the fees are worth the benefits they are receiving. Even among annuity considerers, 61 percent said they would be willing to pay additional fees to guarantee that an investment would never lose value in a down market while allowing it to capture some growth in an up market, which is the hallmark of fixed annuities. 

Additionally, it is important to note that fees vary by type of annuity. Variable annuities can include fees and expenses of 200 to 400 basis points annually. However, fixed annuities generally do not charge specific fees or expenses as a part of the core contract. Many fixed index annuities offer an optional guaranteed lifetime income rider, charging an annual fee, generally of less than 100 basis points per year.

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