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Indexed universal life sales propel overall growth for the third consecutive quarter

WINDSOR, Conn., Dec. 4, 2019 —Total U.S. individual life insurance new annualized premium increased 2% in the third quarter, compared with prior year results, according to the LIMRA U.S. Retail Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey.

Year-to-date total individual life insurance new annualized premium rose 1%, compared with results from the first nine months of 2018. The number of policies sold fell 3% in the third quarter and year to date.

“Indexed universal life (IUL) continued to drive overall new premium growth. In fact, IUL has been the biggest contributor to individual life insurance premium sales growth for 9 of the last 10 quarters. IUL sales climbed 7% for the quarter and the year so far, with half of the companies reporting increases,” said Ashley Durham, associate research director, LIMRA Insurance Research. “IUL represented one quarter (25%) of the individual life insurance premium sold during the first nine months of 2019.”

Universal life (UL) new annualized premium rose 2% in the third quarter, however UL new premium remained flat in the first nine months of the year, compared to prior year. Total UL market share was 36% year to date.

Fixed UL declined 7% in the third quarter and 11% year to date. This is the 10th consecutive quarter of declines for fixed UL products. Fixed UL products with lifetime guarantees fell 15%, current-assumption fixed UL dropped 16%, and accumulation-fixed UL product premium fell 22%, compared with third quarter 2018 results.

Variable UL (VUL) new premium increased 2% in the third quarter, year-over-year. This is the 8th consecutive quarter of increases, compared with prior year results. Protection-focused VUL new premium improved 8%, driving overall VUL growth in the third quarter. Accumulation-focused VUL new premium fell 3% in the third quarter. Despite the growth, only 3 in 10 VUL writers reported increases in new premium in the third quarter.

Year to date, VUL new premium grew 7%. For the first nine months of 2019, VUL held 7% of the total U.S. individual life insurance market.

Whole Life (WL) new annualized premium was flat in the third quarter and year to date. While only about a third of whole life manufacturers reported growth this quarter, 1 in 5 manufacturers reported double-digit increases. In the first nine months of 2019, WL premium represented 35% of the total life insurance market.

Term life insurance new premium grew 3% in the third quarter and 2% year to date, compared with 2018 results. More than half of the term manufacturers (55 percent) reported increases in new premium. Term life market share remained at 22% through third quarter 2019. 

LIMRA’s Third Quarter 2019 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey represents approximately 80% of the U.S. individual life insurance annualized premium market.

View the latest data table on U.S. life insurance sales trends. For more statistics, visit the newly updated Fact Tank (choose Q3).


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