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LIMRA: U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Decline in First Quarter 2018

WINDSOR, Conn., June 4, 2018—Individual life insurance new annualized premium fell 2 percent in first quarter 2018, compared to first quarter 2017, according to LIMRA’s First Quarter 2018 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey. This is the third consecutive quarter of declines.

“Growth continued to be hindered most by fixed universal life (UL) insurance results,” said Ashley Durham, assistant research director, LIMRA Insurance Research. “Interest rates, principle-based reserving and product discontinuation resulted in a 19 percent decline in fixed UL sales.”

The total number of policies sold in the first quarter decreased 3 percent, compared with the same quarter of the prior year.

Universal life (UL) new annualized premium dropped 3 percent in the first quarter. 

Lifetime guarantee UL (LTGUL) premium decreased 24 percent, compared to prior year. LTGUL represented 17 percent of total UL sales and 6 percent of total life premiums in the first quarter.

Indexed universal life (IUL) new annualized premium grew 8 percent in the first quarter. This is the sixth consecutive quarter of growth for IUL. Since the first quarter 2017, two companies entered the IUL market. Forty-four percent of writers and half of the top 10 writers reported positive growth. In the first quarter, IUL represented 63 percent of UL and 23 percent of all individual life premium.

Total UL premium represented 37 percent of all life insurance premium sold in the first quarter 2018.

In the first quarter, whole life new annualized premium dropped 3 percent. This represents the third consecutive quarter of declines for whole life premium. Some writers attribute the declines to low interest rates and recent changes to federal tax law. WL premium currently represents 36 percent of the total individual life insurance market.

Variable universal life (VUL) new annualized premium rose 10 percent in the first quarter, with seven out of the top 10 companies reporting growth. This is the second consecutive quarter of double-digit increases to VUL. VUL holds 6 percent market share of total life sales in the first quarter.

Term life insurance annualized premium growth was flat this quarter. Term’s market share is 21 percent.

LIMRA’s First Quarter 2018 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey represents approximately 80 percent of the U.S. individual life insurance annualized premium market.

The latest data table and additional statistics on U.S. life insurance sales trends can be viewed in the newly updated Data Bank.

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