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WINDSOR, Conn., May. 29, 2012 — Total individual life insurance premium grew three percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to prior year. Overall policy count rose five percent in the first quarter of 2012.

“The biggest driver behind both total premium and policy count growth continues to be whole life,” said Ashley Durham, senior analyst, LIMRA product research. “We saw growth in whole life sales across the industry, including three quarters of our survey’s participants, and all but one of the dominant top twenty. It remains very attractive to consumers looking for security of premium and cash-value guarantees along with lifetime coverage.”

In the first quarter, whole WL premium increased 10 percent. WL policy count improved six percent. Half of all the individual life insurance policies issued in the first quarter were WL products.

Measuring annualized premium, WL market share reached 32 percent in the first quarter — just seven percentage points lower than universal life (UL), which has held the lion’s share of premium sales since 2003. (At its peak in 2007, UL market share was 20 percentage points higher than WL.)

Total UL premium was flat in the first quarter. Policy count grew five percent, representing the 12th consecutive quarter of growth in policy count for UL.

Lifetime-guarantee UL premium fell 12 percent in the first quarter of 2012. This product’s market share has been declining over the past few years as companies have had to take steps to mitigate the poor investment environment, and while they still represent the largest portion of overall UL premium, its market share is down to about 35 percent.

Indexed UL (IUL) jumped 22 percent in the first quarter and IUL policy count grew 41 percent. Companies continue to introduce IUL, and these sales represent more than 25 percent of all UL sold in the first quarter.

Variable UL (VUL) premium declined one percent in the first quarter. VUL policy count dropped nine percent. Just under a quarter of VUL writers were able to increase their premium sales over first quarter 2011.

Term life insurance sales experienced some positive growth in the first quarter of 2012. New term life premium grew by one percent in the first quarter. According to LIMRA’s sales survey, over half of the writers brought in more new term premium than they had during the first quarter of 2011, including 9 of the top 10 writers. Term policy count grew four percent in the first quarter; over half of companies surveyed had issued more policies, including 9 of the top 10 companies.

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


LIMRA Contact:

Catherine Theroux, 860-285-7787,



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 73 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at

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