Windsor, CT, June 7, 2006 — First quarter 2006 individual life insurance sales rose 15 percent in new annualized premium, compared with the first quarter of 2005, according to LIMRA International's quarterly survey of U.S. individual life insurance sales. The strongest increases were in universal life (UL) and variable universal life (VUL) products.
The number of policies sold remained even with the same period last year, while face amount showed a 4 percent increase. Fixed premium products — term and whole life — also showed premium increases of 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively. The survey represents more than three quarters of industry sales.
"Keep in mind that at this time last year, sales of all products were down except for UL," said Elaine Tumicki, corporate vice president and head of LIMRA's product research. "In addition to comparing to low 2005 sales, the surge in 2006 may be related to several factors, including a stronger equities market, as well as premium financing and investor- and corporate-owned life insurance."
Early 2005 sales were likely depressed by potential changes to reserve requirements for UL and proposed legislation that would have permanently repealed the estate tax, LIMRA said. This year's sales were also strengthened by a strong stock market, which probably made producers and consumers more comfortable with variable products, particularly since several newer products offer guarantees. This is only the second time in five years that VUL has posted a double-digit quarterly increase.
With the estate tax issue still uncertain, first quarter survivorship results were down 5 percent over first quarter 2005.
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