WINDSOR, Conn., Dec. 10, 2012 — Total individual life insurance premium grew three percent both in the third quarter and for the first nine months of 2012, according to LIMRA's Third Quarter 2012 Life Insurance Sales Survey.
Total individual life policy count fell one percent for the third quarter, but remained up two percent, year-to-date.
"Whole life and indexed universal life were the sales leaders in the third quarter," said Ashley Durham, senior analyst, LIMRA product research. "Both product lines have consistently performed well under challenging economic conditions because they offer consumers the opportunity for steady growth while protecting their principle from the prolonged market volatility."
Whole life (WL) had the strongest performance in the third quarter, improving five percent. It also had the largest growth over the first nine months of 2012, rising eight percent. Nearly three-quarters of WL writers experienced positive growth, including nine of the top ten writers. WL policy count grew two percent in quarter, resulting in an increase of four percent during the first three quarters of 2012.
Universal life (UL) New annualized premium rose four percent in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2011, and is three percent higher year-to-date.
Sales were primarily driven by indexed UL (IUL), which jumped 39 percent for the quarter and 32 percent in the first nine months of 2012. For the first time, IUL quarterly sales surpassed lifetime guarantee UL sales in the third quarter. IUL reached record-level of the UL market share, representing 28 percent of the UL market.
Low interest rates and higher capital requirements have continued to negatively impact lifetime guarantee UL (GUL) premium. Overall, GUL premium dropped 10 percent for the quarter and nine percent year-to-date.
UL policy count fell nine percent in the quarter and one percent during the first three quarters of 2012.
Term life premium dropped one percent in the third quarter and in first nine months of 2012. Just over half of the participating term writers increased their sales in the first nine months. LIMRA predicts term sales will increase slowly, returning to 2009 levels in about 3 or 4 years as unemployment rates recover.
Variable universal life (VUL) fell four percent in the third quarter and dropping six percent year-to-date. VUL policy count fell 12 percent in the third quarter and 10 percent for the first nine months of 2012.
View the latest data table on U.S. life insurance sales trends. For more statistics, visit the newly updated Fact Tank.
LIMRA is a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization that helps more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 73 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.