Windsor, CT, July 2, 2004 – Universal life (UL) policies continued to drive individual life insurance sales growth in the first quarter of 2004 while variable products began to show signs of a possible turnaround after a prolonged decline, LIMRA International reports.
Overall, first quarter new annualized premium was up 10 percent over first quarter 2003, while face amount and new policies issued were up 10 percent and one percent respectively. LIMRA�s quarterly survey of individual life sales is a key benchmark of life insurance sales trends in the U.S.
�Variable life products � variable universal life (VUL) and fixed premium variable life (VL) � may be starting to turn around,� says Elaine Tumicki, corporate vice president and head of LIMRA product research. �Although annualized premium is still down overall compared to the first quarter of last year (-8 percent), half of the top 20 variable life companies reported increases in the first quarter, and nearly all were double digit increases. This compares to only one of the top 20 VUL companies that reported an increase in 2003.�
With a premium increase of 30 percent over first quarter 2003, UL enjoyed its thirteenth consecutive quarter of double-digit sales growth. UL now accounts for 38 percent of annualized new premium. Sales of term insurance rebounded to a 9 percent increase over first quarter 2003 and whole life insurance was up 2 percent for the period.
Survivorship life sales increased 19 percent for the quarter, and continued a pronounced shift to UL, with a 60 percent increase in sales of the product. UL now accounts for about three-quarters of survivorship premium, compared with just over a quarter in 2001.
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