Life Insurance Industry Seeks to Reverse Declining Sales Trend

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Windsor, CT, September 2, 2004 – After increasing in the first quarter of the year, the number of individual life insurance policies sold in the U.S. in the second quarter declined with 2 percent fewer policies sold than in the second quarter of 2003, according to LIMRA International.

“The life insurance industry wants to reverse this trend,” said Richard A. Wecker, president and CEO of LIMRA as the industry’s September observance of Life Insurance Awareness Month got underway. “Millions of individuals and households are either uninsured or underinsured, leaving them highly vulnerable if a breadwinner suddenly dies.” (Click for more facts)

For the first half of 2004, the number of policies sold was even with the first half of 2003. In the past 20 years, though, the percentage of individual Americans covered by life insurance has declined from 63 percent to 53 percent, according to LIMRA research. During September, the industry is supporting an educational and communication campaign to encourage people to get the life insurance they need.

“We want to see a return to growth in the numbers of individuals who own life insurance,” Wecker said.

While the number of policies sold has been flat for the year so far, total annualized premium and face amount have increased by 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Annualized premium is a measure of how much buyers have paid for insurance, and face amount is the amount of coverage purchased.

Universal life continues to dominate sales, with a 36 percent share of annual premium through the first half of the year. Sales of variable life and variable universal life are slowly improving, with annualized premium up 3 percent for the year and 15 percent for the second quarter.

Term insurance sales continued to increase through the second quarter of 2004, with annualized premium growing 7 percent both for the quarter and the year, compared with 2003. Whole life was the only product to decline, both for the second quarter and the year to date. Premium was down 6 percent for the quarter and 2 percent for the half.

LIMRA International is a worldwide association providing research, consulting, and other services to nearly 850 insurance and financial services companies in more than 60 countries. LIMRA was established in 1916 to help its member companies maximize their marketing effectiveness.

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