Gen Re Study Reveals 4% Premium Gain in Group Life Results

Carriers reporting total group life results experienced an increase in earned premium of 4% compared to mid-year 2010, according to a new report.

Gen Re, South Portland, Me., published this finding in a summary of results from the 2011 U.S. Group Disability and Group Life Mid-Year Market Survey. The benchmark survey covers traditional/basic and voluntary group life, short-term disability (STD), long-term disability (LTD) sales and earned premium for the first half of the year.

Thirty-one carriers participated in the survey, representing approximately 95% of the group disability market and more than 85% of the group life market.

Earned premiums for group life products at mid-year 2011 reached nearly $10.5 billion, the report finds. Long-term disability earned premium remained level with just over $4.8 billion reported, while short-term disability grew by 2%, totaling over $1.7 billion in earned premium at mid-year.

Participating companies reported a combined earned premium for all products of $17.1 billion for mid-year 2011, and a combined annualized new sales premium of $2.6 billion.

Although sales premium is relatively unchanged from the same time period in 2010, earned premium has grown by 3%, the report says.

Compared to the same time period last year, the number of employers offering insurance declined by 1% for group life and remained level for LTD. STD, however, showed a 2% increase in the number of covered employers.

Group life annualized sales premium reached close to $1.5 billion halfway through 2011, which is a slight decrease from the same the period in 2010. LTD sales premium experienced the strongest growth with an increase of 4%, reporting more than $769 million year to date, the report finds.

New sales for STD had a slight decrease year over year. Annual sales premium for carriers reporting STD totaled just over $369 million.

“2010 full-year sales results were flat or down for the group life and disability markets,” says Drew King, senior vice president of group & specialty reinsurance at Gen Re. “However, we are seeing some signs of a recovery in the first half of 2011, led by LTD sales. For life and STD, carriers have found some success in growing their earned premium. It remains to be seen if carriers can hold on to this momentum for the remainder of the year.”

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