NU Online News Service, March 1, 2004, 3:30 p.m. EST – Universal life insurance was once again the industry sales leader among individual life insurance products sold in the United States in 2003, according to LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn.

This is the third year in a row that UL came in first, says LIMRA.

New annualized UL premiums were up 28% in 2003 over 2002, giving UL a 35% market share for the year.

Whole life premiums also rose in 2003, by 7%. and term life premiums rose by 1%. But premiums for variable universal life and fixed variable life combined dropped 33%, LIMRA reports.

LIMRA’s study also found a 5% increase in overall individual life sales.

Meanwhile, total policies face amount was off by 2% from 2002 and number of policies sold fell by 4%.

UL products with long-term secondary guarantees accounted for much of the growth in UL sales, says LIMRA.

The figures reflect a compilation of numbers from quarterly surveys that LIMRA conducts on a little more than 75% of the industry. A separate LIMRA survey, due out later this year, will cover life premium volume for about 90% of United States life industry, says a spokesman.