NU Online News Service, April 14, 2004, 5:25 p.m. EDT – U.S. insurers protected 1% more workers against long-term disabilities in 2003 than they protected in 2002, and they protected 3% more workers against short-term disabilities.[@@]

JHA Inc., Portland, Maine, has published those results in its latest group disability market survey.

The disability risk management and consulting firm found that premium revenue from new sales of short-term and long-term group disability insurance increased 8%, to $1.9 billion, and that premium revenue from group disability policies already in force increased 6%, to about $10 billion.

Premium revenue from policies already in force grew at roughly the same rate for STD and LTD policies, but insurers had better luck at signing up new STD customers than new LTD customers. STD sales rose 11%, while LTD sales grew only 6%, JHA says.

The survey covers results for 37 insurers.

The 2003 group disability growth figures are stronger than the 2002 growth figures. In 2002, group disability premium revenue increased just 5% and new sales crept up 1%.

But “the industry continues to face challenges in [its] effort to increase the number of employers offering group disability coverage to their employees,” Drew King, JHA’s president, says in a statement about the survey results.

JHA is a unit of General Re Life Corp., Stamford, Conn.