Voluntary Sales Rebound in 2006 Based on Eastbridges Study of 61 Leading Carriers

AVON, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For the prior three years (2002 through 2005), industry voluntary sales have increased an average of 2.7 percent a year. While better than many segments of the insurance industry, that pace was well off the pre-2002, double-digit growth rates. But the slow-growth trend seems to have reversed itself in 2006, with estimated worksite sales of $4.715 billion�an 8 percent increase over 2005.

�According to the 60 plus carriers surveyed in our annual U.S. Worksite Sales Study, overall sales growth has definitely rebounded, clearly indicating that the strong growth years for voluntary are far from over,� says Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge. �The average sales increase among the top 15 companies was 10 percent, much better than the 1.5 percent last year. This year, among the top 15 companies, nine had double digit sales increases. Just four had decreases with all but one being in the 1-3 percent range.�

�Much of the slower growth over the past few years was clearly attributable to a few large companies, � adds Bonnie Brazzell, vice president. �But most of these companies had good years in 2006. In fact, seven of the nine largest sellers experienced double-digit sales growth in 2006.�

Inforce premiums also increased by about 10 percent in 2006 compared to seven percent in 2005. Based on our tracked premium and estimates of the total market, we believe that the 2006 inforce worksite premium was between $14.8 and $19.5 billion.

The U.S. Worksite Sales Study estimates sales for the entire voluntary industry with detailed data on the performance of 61 worksite marketing carriers, both group (voluntary) and individual (worksite) carriers/products. Eastbridge estimates that these companies account for over 85 percent of the total worksite sales volume for 2006�and represent the largest number of carriers included in any sales report for the industry.

Parties interested in participating in next year�s study are advised to email Eastbridge at [email protected]. All participants receive a free copy of the complete findings, including company-specific results.

Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving insurance and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada.