SIMSBURY, Conn. — Hartford Life, the No.1 bank seller of variable annuities for more than a decade, is discovering that it will have to work even harder to retain that spot as more and more variable annuity providers turn to banks as a distribution channel.

“Banks know their distribution channel is the fastest-growing for variable annuities,” said Bruce Ferris, vice president of investment product sales at Hartford Life. “So if we want to hold on to their business, we have to be a better partner.” Through the third quarter, Hartford has sold $2.7 billion of variable annuities through banks. This was about 35% of the company’s sales of these products. And in the second quarter, about 22% of all variable annuities sold through banks were Hartford Life products.

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