Overall annuity sales are down, but variable-annuity sales showed a positive first-quarter performance with sales of $34.6 billion, a 0.6% increase compared with the last quarter of 2012, Morningstar said. "The quarter-to-quarter improvement in variable annuity sales is a positive sign for a dynamic industry," said Insured Retirement Institute CEO Cathy Weatherford. Morningstar said total net assets for variable annuities hit a record in the first quarter with $1.72 trillion.

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