In 2012, LIMRA reported the lowest fixed annuity sales in a decade and sales in the first half of 2013 declined another 1 percent year-over-year.

However, with interest rates now creeping up, it may be worth looking at a small but fast-growing niche of the fixed annuity universe: deferred income fixed annuities (DIFAs).

Sales of DIFAs increased 151 percent in the first half of 2013, compared to the same period of 2012. Introduced by New York Life in 2011, DIFAs are expected to exceed $1 billion in sales this year.

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