Authored by Jim Guynan
Recently I heard that almost 60% of index annuities sold today have an income rider attached to them. Also, that the average time before the income is activated from the rider is only 1.8 years. What does this tell us about fixed index purchases and income riders? Simply, that more than half of the owners of fixed annuities are thinking about the future use of these assets as possible income sources and they are utilizing it in a new way.
Before income riders became available there were really only two ways to access an annuity; a 10% penalty free withdrawal per contract year or to annuitize the annuity contract. Now there is a third option which is activating an income rider payout that will provide an income for the rest of the owner’s life. The advantage of this is that the owner does not give up control of the underlying fixed annuity in order to do so. What is interesting to me is that the average time to activate is so short. Many of the illustrations I run for agents show longer deferral times before income is needed. One explanation could be that only those people who need income now are buying the annuities. As time moves on, I believe that more younger people will become educated on the advantages of the riders and take advantage of the longer deferral.