Lincoln Financial Group this week launched its first deferred income annuity, delving into a new product category that Lincoln says is “resonating in the field.”

Purchasers of the annuity pay a lump sum for a predetermined income stream that they will receive anywhere from two to 40 years from the time they buy the product. The lump sum payment ranges from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $1 million, though exceptions to the $1 million maximum are made with home-office approval, said Brian Wilson, assistant vice president of Fixed Annuity Solutions at Lincoln.

“Many clients are viewing this as a way to create their own personal pension,” he said of the new annuity called Lincoln Deferred Income Solutions.

The product is appealing to clients because they know exactly what their future payment streams will be, Wilson said. “If they want to set the retirement income start date out 10 years, they will know exactly what the level of income will be when they turn on that income stream,” Wilson explained. That amount will be guaranteed to them for either a specified period of time or for life, he said.

In addition, the annuity permits owners to accelerate or delay their income start date and offers a death benefit during both the deferral and income phases of the contract, depending on the payment option the client chooses. It also allows clients, while receiving income, to accelerate several months of payments if the need arises, Wilson said.

Clients, however, have no access to the funds during the deferral period. If liquidity or access to the funds is an issue, Lincoln has other products to solve that need, Wilson said.

Deferred income annuities have steadily gained fans since they were introduced into the market several years ago. During the first six months of 2013, they generated $940 million in sales, up 151% from $370 million during the same period the year before, according to LIMRA. They were the fastest-growing product category among all annuity categories.

Despite the growth, deferred income annuities account for a tiny segment of the annuity market, accounting for less than 1% of total annuity sales, according to LIMRA’s latest statistics.

Lincoln joins about a dozen companies who either offer or have filed to offer deferred income annuities, according to a recent report from the Insured Retirement Institute. As recently as 2012, only six companies offered the product.

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