With regards to seeking stability, the survey found that 73% of dabblers and 79% of sellers would continue to recommend variable annuities as "they never want to see any of their clients experience a year like 2008 ever again."

Moreover, half of the respondents said that they started recommending variable annuities in response to client demand for guaranteed investments. 57% of the respondents said they increased their use of VAs because the "designs have become more attractive."

While 49% of the dabblers have increased their recommendations for VAs since the credit crisis, 60% of sellers have increased their recommendations for VAs since the credit crisis and 42% said that they bring up VAs in every conversation with clients, the report says.

The survey also revealed VA sellers have more successful practices and having more HNWI clients with roughly 45% having a combined fee- and commission-based compensation structure, most of which is commission-based.

"Clients clearly have a strong appetite for the benefits of variable annuities, and it is important that the industry better communicate how they can become a key portfolio ingredient," remarked Michael Hart, managing director of Insurance Services at AllianceBernstein.

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