The majority of annuity contracts in the United States are issued by the same companies that sell home, life, auto and other types of insurance. In fact, annuities are considered an insurance product. The annuitant (the person who owns the annuity) is really just transferring several risks, such as longevity and return, to the insurance company in exchange for a fee. Annuities can be purchased through several different distribution channels including direct from the insurance company, banks, independent broker-dealers, wirehouses, investment firms and agents.
There are unique rules and regulations for selling annuities. Variable annuities can only be sold by representatives who have obtained training in both securities and insurance, have an insurance license, be associated with a broker dealer, be federally registered and pass a Series 6 or Series 7 exam. Individuals who sell fixed annuities need much of the same information, but only need to be licensed in the state in which they sell.
The following is list of some of the insurance companies that sell annuity products.