escalatorsSales on pension de-risking deals totaled $14.4 billion in 2015, a 54 percent increase from the previous year, according to LIMRA's Secure Retirement Institute's U.S. Quarterly Group Annuity Risk Transfer Survey.

While five deals transferring at least $1 billion in pension obligations were inked in 2015, the year was marked by the prevalence of smaller deals. More than 300 deals were made for less than $100 million in pension transfers, according to LIMRA.

"In prior years, significant market growth was a result of one or two jumbo deals, like the deal between Prudential and General Motors in 2012," Michael Ericson of the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute analyst said in a statement.

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