Income Strategy

Prioritizing Protected Growth

How the growing FIA market is addressing consumers’ top financial concerns

by Daniel Herr

Mr. Herr is Senior Vice President, Annuity Product Management, Lincoln Financial Group. Visit www.lincolnfinancial.com.

It’s no secret that the fixed indexed annuity (FIA) market is booming, with sales expected to reach nearly $100 billion in 20251. This growth is attributed to the fact that FIAs are a perfect fit for the growing number of consumers who want to prioritize protection, but don’t want to sacrifice opportunities for growth. In fact, a recent study from Lincoln Financial Group recently found that most consumers (61%) are looking for investments that offer an equal mix of growth and protection.

The same study also found that consumers are concerned about inflation (66%), losing money on investments (42%) and market volatility (38%), all of which are areas where protection and growth can help support. Insurers have heard consumers’ appetite for balancing protection and growth and in recent years have launched innovative features and solutions that offer growth opportunities while balancing risk and protecting their assets, which have been incredible growth drivers for the FIA market. Below I’ve outlined some of these features and offered solutions for advisors to best help their clients who are looking to mitigate their top concerns by balancing protection and growth with FIAs.

Trigger Crediting Strategies

Traditional trigger account options are crediting strategies that give investors account value growth when the index return is up or flat at the end of the term. Clients have the predictability of knowing the rate their account will be credited in up and flat markets regardless of the index performance, with the protection of principal if the index performance is negative.

The traditional trigger account option has now been enhanced to include positive crediting opportunities when the index is negative at the end of the term. This dual direction strategy retains the traditional approach when the market is flat or up, with the enhancement of crediting a positive rate if the index performance is negative within a predefined range.  The protection of principal remains should the negative index performance exceed that range.

Trigger account options are a great solution for consumers looking for that balance of protection and growth – particularly with such a wide range of allocation options that can accommodate a variety of risk profiles. One of these allocation options that can be particularly encouraging for clients, is Lincoln Financial’s FIA option with a traditional trigger crediting strategy on the S&P 500® 10% Daily Risk Control (DRC) index. Over the last 10 year of performance, the S&P 500 DRC index had the same negative/positive periods as the S&P 500, however, with the DRC, clients have the potential for a higher trigger crediting rate than an indexed account associated with the traditional S&P 500® index.

Demand for products that protect clients’ principal and offer growth opportunities are likely to stay strong in the coming years, especially as they provide financial professionals the opportunity to offer clients more choices to build wealth and confidence in their financial plans regardless of how the market performs.

Bonus Features

Bonus features have seen a surge of interest from advisors in the FIA market. These features offer a locked-in premium bonus on the account value guaranteed to the investor after a certain number of years with accumulation FIAs. Sor for example, an investor could receive a 10% bonus on their premium from the first 18 months of the contract. From there, their bonus could be vested at 10%, for example, each following year.

Because this feature offers a built-in guarantee of anywhere from 5-15%, and sometimes even more, of the initial balance, consumers can and often do feel more comfortable taking risks on their investments. As a result, Bonus features are a great option for individuals looking for protected growth, but also want to take risks with their investments. 

The Advisor’s Role

Trigger account options are a great solution for consumers looking for that balance of protection and growth – particularly with such a wide range of allocation options that can accommodate a variety of risk profiles...

With insurers continuing to innovate, financial professionals can provide clients with more choices to build wealth and confidence, even when the market is underperforming. And with approximately 4.1 million Americans turning 65 this year — and every year through 20273 – it will be more important than ever to help investors protect their hard-earned savings as they head into retirement.

I started off this article by showcasing consumers’ top financial concerns, but as it turns out, advisors may not be hearing much about these concerns from their clients. This same study also found that people are much less likely to discuss concerns that can be addressed with retirement and insurance products, versus concerns about day-to-day expenses. In fact, among individuals who work with a financial professional:

  • Only 17% of concerned consumers sought advice about inflation, the #1 financial concern overall
  • Only 21% of concerned consumers sought advice about having enough income in retirement, the #2 ranked concern
  • Only 28% of concerned consumers sought advice about impact of taxes on retirement savings and investments, the #3 concern

So what does this mean? Advisors have an opportunity to step into these concerns and address them head on with clients and provide expertise, guidance, and support. By ensuring their clients understand how their financial plan is set up to mitigate these biggest concerns, even when their clients may not actively bring them up themselves, is a necessary step in keeping a trusting, long-lasting relationship with clients.

Understanding how FIA features and investment strategies are mitigating consumers’ top financial concerns by offering protection and growth can help provide them with simple, predictable retirement plans that align with their top priorities.

 

 

1 Source: LIMRA, U.S. Individual Annuity Sales Survey, January 2024 
2 Source: Lincoln Financial Consumer Sentiment Tracker, January 2024
3 Source: Morningstar, S&P 500 rolling returns with a one month step from 1/1/2004 – 12/31/2023. S&P 500 Price Return Index does not include dividends. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. You cannot invest directly in an index.
4 Source: Retirement Income Institute, Alliance for Lifetime Income, Research Paper January 2024
Fixed indexed annuities are intended for retirement or other long-term needs. They are intended for a person who has sufficient cash or other liquid assets for living expenses and other unexpected emergencies, such as medical expenses. A fixed indexed annuity is not a registered security or stock market investment and does not directly participate in any stock or equity investments, or index.
Lincoln fixed indexed annuities (contract forms ICC1515-619, ICC17-622 and state variations) are issued by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, IN, and distributed by Lincoln Financial Distributors, Inc., a broker-dealer. The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company does not solicit business in the state of New York, nor is it authorized to do so. Contractual obligations are subject to the claims-paying ability of The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company.
Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates. Affiliates are separately responsible for their own financial and contractual obligations.

 

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