Individual LI sales improve in Q1

By Gary Linnell

ProWEB Wire (Industry News)

The first quarter of 2010 saw individual life insurance sales increase by 10 percent compared to the same period last year, according to LIMRA's U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales survey.

The biggest improvement occurred in universal life, where sales increased 17 percent for the quarter, although they had been down 30 percent during the first quarter of 2009.

According to Ashley Durham, senior analyst at LIMRA product research, "While the increase is encouraging, it's important to remember that in the first quarter of 2009, new individual life annualized premium dropped 26 percent -- the sharpest decline since 1943. To put it into perspective, sales in the first three months of 2010 are back to the level measured during the third quarter of 2003."

During the quarter, almost 65 percent of companies saw increases in their UL sales, with half of all writers experiencing double-digit increases. Meanwhile, policy count climbed 21 percent year-over-year, the largest increase since the third quarter of 2002.

In addition, new indexed UL premium grew approximately 50 percent during the first quarter, while whole life jumped 15 percent, the next biggest increase for the period.

Finally, variable universal life was up 10 percent from a year ago, with nearly 40 percent of writers up, including six of the top 10 companies.