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Challenger annuity sales edge up

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Challenger says first-half annuity sales grew 4.3% to $2.3 billion after the previous corresponding period was lifted by changes to the age pension taper rate.

Fixed-term annuity sales grew 13.7% to $1.87 billion, while lifetime sales declined 23.8% to $422.3 million.

The annuity book grew by $800 million, or 69%, on the previous corresponding period, driven by increased sales and a reduced level of maturing annuities.

Challenger says about 15% of the book matured in the first half, with the rate set to decline to 10% in this half due to the continued focus on long-term sales.

CEO Brian Benari says sales in Japan through a relationship with Mitsui Sumitomo Life Insurance contributed 17% of Challenger Life’s annuity sales in the half.

Overall net profit for the company fell 3% to $195 million.