Recovery? Not so fast

By Paul Wilson

ProducersWeb Marketing

 The latest round of data from LIMRA emphasizes that the industry has yet to completely emerge from the economic funk.

According to LIMRA, new annualized premiums for individual life insurance policies decreased during the fourth quarter of last year and for the enitre year as a whole, with variable universal life experiencing the worst results.

Total new annualized premiums decreased 5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2009 year-over-year, contributing to an overall sales decline of 16 percent for the year.

New premiums declined 26 percent during the fourth quarter of 2009 and 21 percent in the second quarter, with variable universal life suffering a huge decline in annualized premiums during the fourth quarter, down by more than one-third. Overall, variable universal life saw premiums fall by nearly half for the year.

Meanwhile, universal life saw a 15 percent increase in the number of contracts during the fourth quarter, although annualized premiums for the same period fell 3 percent year-over-year.

Finally, year-to-date, annualized premiums decreased 20 percent, while individual policies rose by 5 percent.

At this point, we're becoming accustomed to the topsy-turvy nature of this recovery. Every positive piece of news seems to be closely followed by a more pessimistic headline, and unfortunately, it seems that the world of life insurance sales is no different.