Rising interest rates and the high pension funding levels they drive are also driving higher levels of pension derisking in 2022.
Total U.S. single premium annuity risk transfer buy-out sales topped $26.15 billion in the third quarter of 2022, a new record high for the total volume recorded in a single quarter, according to new research released by LIMRA in its’ U.S. Group Annuity Risk Transfer Sales Survey.
The total represents a 66% increase over the $12.31 billion recorded in the second quarter 2022.
A group annuity risk transfer product, such as a pension buy-out, allows defined benefit plan sponsor to transfer all or a portion of its pension liability to an insurer. In doing so, the plan sponsor can remove all or some of the pension liability from its balance sheet and reduce the corresponding funded status volatility.
LIMRA forecasts that total buyout sales volume will surpass $50 billion in 2022, a significant increase from the $34.157 billion total transactional volume in 2021.
The total volume of buyouts and buy-ins so far in 2022, was $43.8 billion ($2.7 billion of which stems from buy-ins), up 73% from the same period in 2021. Though there were no buy-in transactions completed during the third quarter.
There has been a total of $41.12 billion in single-premium buyouts in 2022, 89% higher than the same period in 2021. The total volume within the first three quarters of 2022 surpassed any year’s full total for single-premium buyouts. In the third quarter, there were 145 total buyout contracts, covering a total of 342,870 plan participants, LIMRA reported.
“While several jumbo deals drove record sales, there were also a record number of contracts sold in the third quarter, signaling widespread industry growth,” said Mark Paracer, assistant research director at LIMRA annuity research. “Greater plan sponsor awareness and desire to de-risk their pension liabilities, rising interest rates and escalating costs to maintain plans are likely driving market expansion in the U.S. We expect these factors to continue to propel the U.S. market into 2023.”
Single premium buy-out assets reached $230.3 billion in the third quarter, up 27% from the prior year, while single premium buy-in assets were $6.65 billion, 1% higher than the third quarter of 2021. Combined, single premium assets were $236.9 billion in the third quarter, a 26% increase from the third quarter 2021 results.
Most single-premium buyouts occur in the third and fourth quarters in any given year. The second half of the calendar year accounted for 64% of all single-premium buyouts in 2018, 68% in 2019, 73% in 2020, and 82% of total volume in 2021, according LIMRA’s data.
Quarterly U.S. Single Premium Pension Buy-Out Sales1Q16$1,0842Q16$1,0353Q16$5,9384Q16$5,6751Q17$1,4152Q17$4,0633Q17$6,4594Q17$11,1451Q18$1,4022Q18$8,2653Q18$6,2864Q18$10,6551Q19$4,7572Q19$4,1663Q19$7,7324Q19$11,3381Q20$4,4622Q20$2,2703Q20$4,5994Q20$13,7501Q21$1,0162Q21$4,9683Q21$15,7874Q21$12,3861Q22$2,6672Q22$12,3113Q22$26,145Source: U.S. Group Annuity Risk Transfer Study, LIMRA
Quarterly U.S. Single Premium Pension Buy-Out Sales