WINDSOR, Conn., June 11, 2013 — With every major product line experiencing positive premium growth, total individual life new annualized premium grew seven percent in the first quarter of 2013, according to LIMRA’s First Quarter 2013 Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey.
Total individual policy count, which had been increasing slightly over the last two years, fell five percent in the first quarter. All product lines except term experienced declines in policy count.
Universal life (UL) premium grew eight percent in the first quarter, mostly a result of strong indexed UL sales. IUL premium increased 23 percent compared with the first quarter last year — the 16th consecutive quarter of growth. Overall, UL premium represents 40 percent of the total individual life insurance market.
“In the first quarter of 2013, universal life was the biggest driver of growth, with indexed UL experiencing the largest increase in terms of absolute dollars,” noted Ashley Durham, senior analyst, LIMRA Product Research. “IUL offers upside potential without the worry of market-related loss, which continues to appeal to today's buyers.”
UL policy count dropped 18 percent in the quarter. LIMRA attributes much of the decline to companies discontinuing their term-UL products.
Lifetime guaranteed (LTG) UL premium remained positive through first quarter 2013, increasing nine percent. While half of the writers reported significant declines, most of the other companies reported strong growth, citing improved competitive positions, fire sales, and the ability to keep cost increases to a minimum. LTG now represents 35 percent of overall UL premium, down from a high of 53 percent in 2009. It still represents the largest share of new UL premium.
Whole life sales remained strong in the first quarter of 2013. Premium increased seven percent in the first quarter — the 15th consecutive quarter of positive growth. WL policy count contracted five percent compare with the first quarter of last year. WL market share was 33 percent in the first three months of 2013.
Term premium rose three percent and policy count grew one percent in the first quarter. More than a third of term writers reported positive growth.
Variable universal life (VUL) premium improved 10 percent in the first quarter. This was mainly due to sales of small corporate-owned life insurance and private placement. VUL policy count dropped five percent in the first quarter. VUL policy count hasn’t increased for 34 consecutive quarters.
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