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Group Disability Sales Increase 2%

U.S. insurers protected 3% more workers against long-term disability in the first half of this year than in the first half of 2003.

Insurers also covered 2% more workers against short-term disabilities.

JHA Inc., Portland, Maine, published those results in its latest mid-year group disability market survey. The disability risk management and consulting firm found that annualized premium revenue from new sales of short-term and long-term group disability insurance increased 2%, to $1.1 billion and that premium revenue from group disability policies already in force increased 6%, to $5.2 billion.

Premium revenue from policies already in force grew at roughly the same rate for STD and LTD policies, but insurers were more successful at signing up new STD customers than new LTD customers. Annualized STD sales rose 7%, to $358 million, while annualized LTD sales held steady at $779 million, JHA says.

Although the number of workers covered by LTD policies increased slightly faster than those covered by STD policies, “it appears that carriers are continuing to target smaller LTD cases with higher average premium per-life results,” JHA researchers wrote about the mid-year results.

When JHA calculated per-life averages, it found that average new sales premium increased 4% per life for STD coverage, to $180 per employee, and 9% per life for LTD coverage, to $205 per employee.

Average premium revenue for policies already in force increased only 2% for LTD policies, to $215, but 5% for STD policies, to $184.

UnumProvident Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn., was the leader in new LTD and STD sales. It captured 20% of new LTD sales and 23% of new STD sales.

The Hartford Life unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. came in second, with 15% of new LTD sales and 13% of new STD sales.

The latest mid-year survey attracted 32 participants, down from 39 for the mid-2003 survey. The drop was “primarily due to block acquisitions and consolidations,” JHA wrote.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, October 14, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.