Sales of variable annuities are expected to reach between $15.3 - $15.6 billion in 2009

MetLife is expecting its sales of stock market-linked retirement products to surpass the 2007 levels, as it is picking up variable annuities from weakened rivals – reported Reuters.

Michael Farrell, executive vice president of MetLife’s US distribution, stated that sales of variable annuities are expected to grow to between $15.3 billion and $15.6 billion in 2009.

Reportedly, the sales of retirement products plunged in 2008. The current projection of MetLife beats the $15.27 billion in variable annuities sales recorded by the insurer in 2007, before the worst of the credit crisis.

Mr. Farrell further stated that MetLife has also been picking up fixed annuity customers from weakened rivals, including American International Group. He added that MetLife’s business has advanced as it has remained financially stable, and has not pulled the plug on retirement products.

The offerings of retirement products of many life insurers have been tweaked, specially those related to stock market performance, quoted the news agency.