LIMRA: First Quarter 2014 U.S. Individual Life Sales Stumble

By Vanessa De La Rosa


WINDSOR, Conn., June 11, 2014 — Total individual life insurance new annualized premium fell seven percent in the first quarter 2014, according to LIMRA's Retail Individual Life Insurance Sales Report. Policy count declined four percent for the quarter.

"The decline is being driven by the drop in universal life sales - particularly guaranteed universal life, which fell 48 percent," said Benjamin Baldwin, associate analyst, LIMRA Insurance Research. "Responding to new reserving requirements implemented in 2013, we saw companies re-pricing or adjusting features on their guaranteed universal life products. If you took guaranteed universal life out of the equation, total individual life premium would actually increase just under one percent."

Total universal life (UL) new annualized premium dropped 15 percent in the first quarter 2014. Policy count fell nine percent. UL market share represents 38 percent of total life insurance premium.

Indexed UL (IUL) new annualized premium improved 15 percent in the first quarter 2014. LIMRA attributes the increase to several new entrants in the market, as well as strong growth reported by 9 of the top 10 IUL writers. IUL now represents 39 percent of UL sales and holds 14 percent market share of total individual life premium. In comparison, IUL market share was only eight percent in 2007.

Variable universal life (VUL) recorded strong growth in the first quarter 2014. VUL new annualized premium and policy count each increased 20 percent. Half of the top 10 writers reported increases. This is the sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth for VUL. VUL market share represents six percent of total individual life insurance premium.

After 18 consecutive quarters of positive growth, whole life new annualized premium declined 3 percent in the first quarter 2014. Policy count was also down four percent. WL premium represents 32 percent of the total individual life market for the quarter.

Term life insurance new annualized premium fell four percent in the first quarter 2014. Two thirds of term writers reported negative growth for the quarter compared to prior year. It is important to note that term experienced significant growth in 2013, due to several companies reintroducing traditional term products replacing their term UL products. Term's market share was 23 percent in the first quarter.

View the latest data table on U.S. life insurance sales trends. For more statistics, visit the newly updated Data Bank.

About LIMRA

LIMRA, a worldwide research, learning and development organization, is the trusted source of industry knowledge, helping more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 64 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.

Contact LIMRA

Catherine Theroux, 860-285-7787, ctheroux@limra.com
Mark Morris, 860-285-7875, mmorris@limra.com