Jackson National Life Insurance Co., a Lansing, Mich., subsidiary of Prudential PLC of London, said its first-quarter sales rose 21% from a year earlier, to $3.5 billion.

A 31% increase in variable annuity sales, to $2.1 billion, and a 17% increase in institutional product sales, to $913 million, were keys, Jackson said.

Retail sales of core annuity and life insurance products rose 23%, to $2.5 billion.

Jackson, which announced the results Thursday, launched the variable Curiangard Simplified Retirement Annuity during the quarter and added investment options and features to its lineup of variable annuities. Through its subsidiaries, it launched a retail mutual fund family.

Sales of Jackson's fixed annuities rose 2.3%, to $263 million, and sales of fixed index annuities fell 8.6%, to $212 million.

Deposits at Jackson's Curian Capital subsidiary in Denver, a registered investment advisory, rose 41% in the first quarter, to more than $293 million. That brought Curian's assets under management to $2.7 billion.

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