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Chicago (April 4, 2012) – As Baby Boomers enter their golden years, the retirement planning industry is shifting its focus from saving for retirement to income during retirement. Single premium immediate annuities (SPIAs), which guarantee the buyer an income stream for the rest of their life based on a single upfront payment, are becoming a more viable part of the solution as sales hit all-time highs in 2011. Additionally, according to Mintel Comperemedia, direct mail volume for SPIAs was 18% higher in 2011 than in 2010.

Direct mail marketing of SPIAs compared with their deferred counterparts has taken off, comprising 75% of all annuity acquisition direct mail to consumers in 2011 compared to 62% in 2007.

The vast majority of annuities are sold through an agent, making them the target of a significant amount of marketing efforts. However, some carriers are pushing beyond that model and are increasingly using direct mail to generate interest in SPIAs, as it gives them the means to offer the product in a more personalized and direct way as part of the retirement income solution.

“Only a small number of companies are marketing SPIAs directly to consumers. The campaigns that resonate most with customers are ones that present SPIAs as stable, guaranteed income, free from the turbulence of the stock market,”says Gary Wooley, director, insurance consulting at Mintel Comperemedia.

In a recent Mintel Oxygen report, Retirement Planning, 66% of those surveyed had an IRA or 401k plan, while only 14% had some type of annuity as one of their retirement savings accounts. Annuity providers are taking advantage of the room for growth for SPIAs by increasing the marketing footprint of the product, and direct mail marketing is becoming a more influential part of that mix.

“Some carriers are increasingly taking advantage of the simple solution the SPIA provides and getting that message out directly to the consumer,”adds Gary Wooley.”I think the growing presence in consumers’ mailbox shows how viable this marketing channel is for the product.”