10 Best Fixed Index Annuity Companies

Best Fixed Index Annuity Page with 100 dollar bill being pulled from stock charts

Top 10 Fixed Index Annuity Companies

Fixed Index Annuities have increased in popularity over the last five years resulting in many more top-rated annuity companies entering the market. In this article, we’ll list the top ten best-fixed index annuity companies based on total sales in 2019.

So without further ado let’s get started.

The 10 Best Fixed Index Annuity Companies

  1. Allianz Life of North America
  2. Athene Annuity & Life
  3. AIG Companies (American General Life Insurance)
  4. Nationwide Life Insurance Company
  5. American Equity Investment Life
  6. Lincoln Financial Group (LFG)
  7. Jackson National
  8. Global Atlantic Financial Group
  9. Pacific Life
  10. Great American Life Insurance Company

Best Fixed Index Annuity Companies by the Numbers

Each year the Secure Retirement Institute publishes total U.S. Individual Fixed Annuity Sales and breaks out the results for the top 20 Annuity Companies. 

In addition to overall annuity sales, they also break out the results by types of annuities including best-fixed annuity companies, indexed, and top variable annuity companies as well.

In 2019 total U.S. Individual Fixed Index Annuity Sales were $73,500,000,000 and the top 20 annuity companies accounted for $64,555,688,000 of it, or 88%. 

One interesting note is that all of the top 10 indexed annuity companies in 2019 are top-rated annuity companies with an AM Best Rating of A or better, except for American Equity which is rated A-. On the contrary, the majority of the Best Fixed Annuity Companies in 2019 were lesser-rated insurance companies.

2019 U.S. Individual Fixed Index Annuity Sales

The table below lists the top 10 fixed index annuity companies in order by the dollar amount of individual U.S. fixed index annuity sales in thousands. So for instance, Allianz Life’s total fixed index annuity sales were $8.36 Billion in 2019.

Source: Secure Retirement Institute* U.S. Individual Annuities Sales Survey

RankCompany nameIndexed
1Allianz Life $8,358,718
2Athene $6,122,393
3AIG Companies$6,026,956
4Nationwide$5,455,800
5American Equity $4,705,319
6Lincoln Financial$4,122,282
7Jackson$3,738,838
8Global Atlantic $3,607,134
9Pacific Life$3,321,109
10Great American$3,142,476

10 Best Fixed Index Annuity Companies

Allianz annuity logo - best fixed index annuity company 2016-2020

#1. Allianz Life

Allianz LifeRating
5701 Golden Hills Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55416
A.M. Best RatingA+
Moody's (21 rankings)A1 (5)
Comdex (percentile of all rated companies)94
Standard & Poor's (20 Possible Ratings)AA (3)

#1 Selling Annuity: Allianz 222

Athene annuity logo

#2. Athene

Athene Financial RatingsRating
7700 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50266
A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings)A (3)
Fitch Ratings (21 possible)A (6)
Comdex (percentile of all rating companies)78
Standard & Poor's (20 possible ratings)A (6)

#1 Annuity: Performance Elite

Aig logo

#3. AIG Companies

American General Life Insurance CompanyRating
A.M. Best Company (Best's Ratings, 15 Ratings)A (3)
Moody's (Financial Strength, 21 Ratings)A2 (6)
Standard & Poor's (Financial Strength, 20 Ratings)A+ (5)
Fitch Ratings (Financial Strength, 21 Ratings)A+ (5)
Weiss (Safety Rating, 16 Ratings)B (5)
Comdex Ranking (Percentile in Rated Companies)82

#1 Annuity: AIG Power Protector

Nationwide annuity logo - #4 indexed annuity company

#4. Nationwide

Nationwide Life & Annuity CompanyRating
One Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH 43215
A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings)A+ (2)
Moody's (21 possible ratings)A1 (5)
Standard & Poor's (Financial Strength, 20 Ratings)A+ (5)
Comdex (percentile of all rating companies)90
American equity investment life insurance company logo

#5. American Equity

American EquityRating
6000 Westown Pkwy, West Des Moines, IA 50266
A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings)A- (4)
Fitch (21 possible ratings)A- (7)
Standard & Poor's (Financial Strength, 20 Ratings)A- (7)
Comdex (percentile of all rating companies)60

#1 Annuity: AssetShield Annuity

Lincoln financial group annuity logo

#6. Lincoln Financial Group

Lincoln Financial GroupRating
1300 South Clinton St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802
A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings)A+ (2)
Moody's (21 possible ratings)A1 (5)
Fitch (21 possible ratings)A+ (5)
Standard & Poor's (Financial Strength, 20 Ratings)AA- (4)
Comdex (percentile of all rating companies)90

#1 Annuity: Lincoln OptiBlend

Jackson national annuity logo

#7. Jackson National

Jackson National Life Insurance CompanyRating
1 Corporate Way, Lansing, MI 48951
A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings)A (3)
Moody's (21 possible ratings)A1 (5)
Fitch (21 possible ratings)A+ (5)
Standard & Poor's (Financial Strength, 20 Ratings)A+ (5)
Comdex (percentile of all rating companies)84
Global atlantic logo - top fixed index annuity company list 2020

#8. Global Atlantic Financial Group

Global Atlantic Financial Group Rating
A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings)A (3)
Moody's (21 possible ratings)A3 (7)
Fitch (21 possible ratings)A (6)
Standard & Poor's (Financial Strength, 20 Ratings)A- (7)
Comdex (percentile of all rating companies)75
Pacific life insurance company annuity logo

#9. Pacific Life

Pacific Life Insurance Company Rating
700 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660
A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings)A+ (2)
Moody's (21 possible ratings)A1 (5)
Fitch (21 possible ratings)AA- (4)
Standard & Poor's (Financial Strength, 20 Ratings)AA- (4)
Comdex (percentile of all rating companies)93

#1 Annuity: Pacific Index Edge

Great american annuity logo

#10. Great American (GALIC)

Great American Life Insurance CompanyRating
301 E Fourth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings)A+ (2)
Moody's (21 possible ratings)A2 (6)
Standard & Poor's (20 possible ratings)A+ (5)
Comdex (percentile of all rated companies)82

Best Fixed Index Annuity Companies

Allianz Life, Athene, and AIG are the best-fixed index annuity companies. What I think is quite telling is each of these three has been in the top five each of the last five years, as you see in the table below.

Annuity Company20202019 20182017 2016
Allianz21111
Athene12223
AIG33445
Nationwide74337
American Equity95662

While I realize making a blanket statement that the insurers with the most fixed index annuity sales are the best index annuity companies; in this case, it is my belief the numbers don’t lie. At least for the top four out of five spots. 

While the best annuity for you will be determined by your individual situation and goals; generally speaking, Allianz, Athene and AIG are the best fixed index annuity companies. 

Best Annuity Companies 2020

The table below lists the best annuity companies in 2020 based on total U.S. Individual Annuity Sales as reported in the Secure Retirement Institutes 2020 Annuity Sales survey. 

Annuity Sales are listed in Billions so for example, Jackson National sold $17.92 Billion of Annuities in 2020. 

Total sales numbers include fixed, fixed index, income annuities, variable, and registered index-linked annuity sales. Structured settlements and group annuity sales are not included.

Annuity Company2020 Annuity Sales
Jackson National Life $17,923,072
AIG Companies $14,516,417
New York Life $13,735,311
Lincoln Financial Group $11,565,013
Equitable Financial $10,502,550
Allianz Life of North America $9,867,018
TIAA $8,619,000
Brighthouse Financial $8,357,188
Sammons Financial Companies $8,351,043
Athene Annuity & Life $7,838,129
Nationwide $7,561,500
Prudential Annuities $7,088,001
Pacific Life $6,944,644
Massachusetts Mutual Life $6,882,729
Global Atlantic Financial Group $6,700,026

Source: 2020 Secure Retirement Institute U.S. Individual Annuities Sales Survey

Top 20 Indexed Annuity Companies 2020

UPDATED 3/22/21: Athene Life and Annuity was the number one fixed index annuity company in 2020 surpassing Allianz Life; according to the Secure Retirement Institute’s 2020 U.S. Individual Fixed Index Annuity Sales Survey released March 9, 2021. 

The 3 top index annuity companies remained the same as in 2019; Allianz, Athene, and AIG, but the order changed as Athene leap-frogged Allianz for the number one spot.

Allianz Life saw their index annuity sales decrease 40% from their 2019 numbers but still managed to hang on to the number two spot. AIG remained the 3rd best-fixed index annuity company in 2020.

The table below lists the top 20 fixed indexed annuity companies of 2020 based on U.S. Individual Fixed Index Annuity Sales according to the Secure Retirement Institute 2020 Annuity sales survey; in order (sales results are in Billions).

Annuity CompanyIndexed
Athene Annuity & Life Co.$5,846,106
Allianz Life of North America$5,016,919
AIG Companies$4,542,675
Sammons Financial Companies$3,743,678
Fidelity & Guaranty Life$3,458,101
Global Atlantic Financial Group$3,071,197
Nationwide$2,935,700
Security Benefit Life$2,882,395
Great American$2,348,040
American Equity Investment Life$2,338,390
EquiTrust Life$1,624,196
Delaware Life$1,601,571
Lincoln Financial Group$1,449,640
National Life Group$1,309,393
Protective Life$1,279,550
Bankers Life & Casualty$1,109,115
Symetra Financial$1,091,988
Pacific Life$1,012,959
Jackson National Life$1,000,778
Prudential Annuities$837,668

Best Fixed Index Annuity Rates 2021

The below table lists the best-fixed index annuity rates available at My Annuity Store, Inc.’s online annuity marketplace as of March 5th, 2021. 

This list of indexed annuity rates is based on the highest S&P 500 annual point-to-point with a cap crediting strategy. 

There are many other indexes and crediting options available, too many to list them here in a single table. If you’d like to compare rates for other crediting methods and market indexes you can do so at our online annuity marketplace.

Annuity CompanyFixed Index AnnuityRatingCapTerm
SILACDenali 14B+6.7514 yrs
Sentinel Security LifeAccumulation Protector Plus w/ RiderB++6.0010 yrs
SILACDenali 10B+5.5010 yrs
Great American Life (GALIC)American Legend 7 High BandA+5.257 yrs
SILACDenali 7B+5.007 yrs
Guaranty Income LifeWealthChoice 7B++5.007 yrs
Great American Life (GALIC)American Legend 7 Low BandA+5.007 yrs
Fidelity & Guaranty LifeProsperity Elite 10 ProtectionA-5.0010 yrs
Fidelity & Guaranty LifeProsperity Elite 7 EnhancementA-5.007 yrs
American National (ANICO)Strategy Indexed Annuity PLUS 10A5.0010 yrs
Sentinel Security LifeAccumulation Protector PlusB++4.8010 yrs
SILACTeton 10B+4.7510 yrs
Great American Life (GALIC)American Legend 7 Non-MVA High BandA+4.757 yrs
Guaranty Income LifeWealthChoice 5B++4.505 yrs
American Equity IncomeShield 7A-4.507 yrs
Oxford Life InsuranceSelect 10A-4.5010 yrs
Nassau Life and AnnuityNassau Growth Annuity 10 Group BB+4.5010 yrs
American General Life Insurance Power 10 Protector High BandA4.5010 yrs
American General Life Insurance Power 7 Protector High BandA4.407 yrs
Great American Life (GALIC)American Landmark 5 High BandA+4.305 yrs
American General Life InsurancePower 5 Protector High BandA4.305 yrs
Guggenheim Life and Annuity Highlander 7B++4.257 yrs
Guggenheim Life and Annuity ViStarB++4.2510 yrs
EquiTrust Life Insurance CompanyMarket Value IndexB++4.2510 yrs

Compare current index annuity rates for August 2021 at our online index annuity store.

What is a Fixed Index Annuity?

Fixed Index Annuities Explained

A fixed index annuity is a type of fixed annuity that credits interest based on the performance of an external market index rather than a guaranteed annuity rate. 

An indexed annuity offers an opportunity to earn more interest when the markets perform and provide downside protection from a potential market downturn. 

NOTE: You may also hear fixed index annuities referred to as:

  • FIA
  • Equity Indexed Annuity
  • EIA
  • Hybrid Annuity
  • Indexed Annuity

Fixed Index Annuities have less risk than variable annuities because you can’t lose value due to poor market performance. 

However, they have more risk than a fixed annuity because they come with a guaranteed interest rate; indexed annuities only guarantee the worst you can do in any given year is earn zero percent.

The below infographic illustrates where a fixed index annuity falls between a fixed annuity and variable annuity as well as other investment vehicles on the investment continuum. 

Indexed annuities have increased in popularity largely because they offer the most growth potential of any investment that provides principal protection.

Investment continuum chart illustrating where a fixed index annuity falls relative to other investment vehicles.

Fixed Index Annuity vs. Variable Annuity

The line graph below compares the sales of variable annuities (VA) and fixed index annuities (FIA) in the United States from 2006 to 2020. 

Variable annuities are represented by the blue line while the red line represents fixed indexed annuity sales.

Fixed index annuity sales vs variable annuity sales (2007 to 2020)line graph

As you can see, variable annuities have decreased in popularity significantly while fixed index annuities are becoming increasingly popular. 

VA sales decreased from approximately $185 Billion in 2006 to ~$100 Billion in 2020 while FIA sales increased from ~$75 Billion to ~$120 Billion during the same timeframe.

2016 marked the first year that individual fixed index annuity sales surpassed variable annuity sales in the United States. 

This is due in large part to the high cost and fees associate with variable annuities vs. low or no fees of an index annuity.

Typical Variable Annuity Fees

  1. M&E (mortality and expense) – average around .50%
  2. Sub-Account Fees – average 1.00%
  3. Optional Rider Fees (income rider or death benefit rider) – Average 1.00% each
Fixed Index Annuity Fees
  1. No Sub-Account Fees
  2. No M&E Fees
  3. Death Benefit is Full Account Value – No Fee
  4. Optional Income Riders – Typically .95% to 1.25% annually

If you are considering purchasing a variable annuity you will find the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Variable Annuities: What You Should Know investor tips.

An indexed annuity’s credited interest is calculated annually and determined by the performance of a stock market index. 

However, you are not directly invested in the market which means your index annuity account value won’t decrease due to a potential market downturn.

How Do Fixed Index Annuities Work?

At each annual contract anniversary, the performance of the market index you’ve selected is measured. If the index performs (increases in value) you get a percentage of the growth. 

The amount of the index performance your FIA is credited to is determined by the crediting method you’ve selected. 

There are a couple of different index annuity crediting methods but Annual Point to Point is by far the most common so for time’s sake that’s the one we’ll focus on here.

Annual Point-to-Point Index Annuity Crediting Method

 
Annual point to point uses the index value from only two points in time making it simple and straightforward to calculate.
 

Calculating index performance using the annual point-to-point method:

  • The index value from the beginning of the crediting period is subtracted from the value of the index at the end of the crediting period. 
  • The percentage of change is calculated.
  • If the value at the end of the year is higher than the beginning of the year crediting component is applied to determine your interest.

Chart illustrating how annual point to point fixed index annuity crediting method is calculated

Fixed Index Annuity Example:

107,000(ending value) minus 100,000(beginning value) = 7,000 positive change in index value.

7,000 (index value change) divided by 100,000(beginning index value) = 7% index performance.

A crediting component, or limiting factor, is then applied to the index performance to determine your credited interest rate for the year.

3 Fixed Index Annuity Crediting Methods:

A cap, spread and participation rate are the most common crediting methods used to determine how much interest an index annuity credits.

Spread – The index performance minus the spread.
Cap – 100% of the index performance up to the cap. 
Participation Rate – The index performance multiplied by the participation rate.

Assuming a 5.00% cap, 2.00% spread and a 75% participation rate let us calculate the amount of annual interest a fixed index annuity would be credited using the 7% index performance in our example above. 

Cap= 5% Interest credited (100% of index performance up to the cap)

Spread = 5% Interest credited (index performance minus the spread)

Participation Rate = 5.25% Interest Credited (index performance multiplied by the participation rate) 

Uncapped Indexed Annuities

Allianz, AIG, and Athene have all been innovators in the indexed annuity space and I would attribute much of their success to that fact. 

Specifically, they all have uncapped crediting strategies and offer proprietary volatility-managed indexes.

Our best stock market index options available in an index annuity guide is a helpful resource as it lists the best performing indexes and crediting methods by annuity company and overall, with hypothetical historical returns.

The ability to manage volatility inside of these indexes smooths out returns and lowers the costs of the options that annuity companies must purchase to back the indexed annuities they issue.

 A lower option cost enables them to purchase more options and in return, offer more upside to their policyholders.

 

Best Uncapped Index Annuities & Market Indexes 

Based on historical back-testing I believe these are the best uncapped fixed index annuity options available today.

Frequently Asked Indexed Annuity Questions

You may reallocate available funds at the end of each crediting period on your contract anniversary. You have 30 days to submit a re-allocation form – if you do not, your allocations will remain the same as the previous year.

It is important to note that a fixed index annuity is an insurance contract issued by an insurance company and is not a security. As such, they will not generate equity-like returns. They are a good retirement savings vehicle that provides a safe and steady way to grow your retirement savings. 

You can not lose money in an indexed annuity due to a potential market downturn. However, indexed annuities do have surrender penalties if you withdraw your money prior to the end of your contract. In addition, withdrawals prior to age 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10% IRS tax penalty. 

Fixed Index Annuities do not have any fees in general; however, there are optional income riders, long term care riders, and death benefit riders that can be added to an index annuity for a fee. 

Gains are limited by a crediting method or “limiting factor”, index annuity contracts can be complex, contracts vary greatly from insurance company to company, highly customizable, surrender penalties for withdrawals above the annual free withdrawal provision, pre 591/2 tax penalties, and crediting factors can change on the contract anniversary date.

An Uncapped Fixed Index Annuity refers to an indexed annuity with a crediting method that does not cap the interest your account can be credited in any given year. Instead of a cap, uncapped options use a spread or participation rate crediting method.

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