As the wave of retiring Baby Boomers presents new growth possibilities, providers of annuities products need to step public awareness efforts, a new study finds.

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) notes that an average of 7,000 people will turning 65 each day this year, and that by the beginning of 2012 more than 41 million Americans will be age 65 and older. IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford says the insurance industry is well positioned to aid consumers looking for ways to provide income throughout their retirement.

“The Baby Boomer tsunami has arrived, pushing the consumer need for retirement income to historic levels,” Weatherford says. “Our industry is primed to play a pivotal role in the retirement planning strategies of millions of Americans looking for the peace of mind that only an annuity can bring to a balanced portfolio.”

Yet the IRI study, conducted in partnership with Cerulli Associates, found that awareness of insured retirement strategies remains low with consumers. Indeed, 35% of the consumers surveyed said they are unfamiliar with annuities, while 29% said they have no opinion of annuities.

Accordingly, Weatherford says insurers need redouble efforts to apprise investors of the benefits that an annuity can provide for them.

“Considering the awareness of insured retirement strategies remains low with consumers and new advisors, insurers will have a genuine opportunity to reach new audiences through education, training tools and information,” she says. “By increasing the awareness of the overall value proposition annuities can offer, the industry will see an even greater acceptance of insured retirement strategies from advisors and consumers alike in the coming year.”