What is the best annuity? The answer is that there is not a best annuity for every situation. The trick is to find out the best one for whatever you are trying to accomplish.
Companies compete bitterly with each other in the annuity market. They are always trying to come up with an annuity product that will be the next big seller. While they want market share, they are never willing to offer a product that is the best in every category. Instead, they will pick one area within a product and try to be the best in that space.
There are only a handful of needs that people try to fill with an annuity. They are current income, future income, future death benefit, safe growth of principal and liquidity. The company that provides the most guaranteed future income will most likely not be competitive in the other categories. The company that provides the most liquidity will not compete will with the best income companies.
For example: Security Benefit SIA annuity offers a higher future income payment than any other annuity product on the market. If you want future income, this is the best option. However, if someone is more concerned about growth of principal, they would be better off using National Westerns Global Lookback or the Total Value Annuity because the SIA income annuity does not offer strong account growth. If someone is concerned about liquidity (access to 100% of the investment at any time) they would be better off using Equitrust or Great American.
I can not tell you how many times I talk to someone that put money into a product that is not strong in the area they are interested in. They use the product because someone said it was the best but in reality it was the best in an area they didn’t care about.
The key is to identify what you want to accomplish and then find the product that is the best at that specific area.