U.S. individual disability insurance sales rose 4.7% in 2004, to $323 million, despite customers’ continuing shift away from guaranteed renewable contracts.[@@]

Although sales of guaranteed-renewable contracts fell 4.4%, to just $47 million, sales of non-cancelable contracts rose 6.4%, to $269 million, according to researchers at JHA, Portland, Maine, a unit of General Re Life Corp., Stamford, Conn., which, in turn, is an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Omaha, Neb.

Revenue from individual disability policies already in force increased 3.7%, to $3.8 billion, and the growth rate for in-force policies was about the same for guaranteed renewable and non-can policies, the JHA researchers report.

“Overall, 2004 was a solid year for the individual disability income market,” JHA President Drew King says in a statement about the latest individual disability market performance figures.

When JHA researchers looked at non-can application quality, they found that about 69% of applications are placed, 14% are declined, about 5% are not taken, and about 5% are withdrawn.

In the guaranteed-renewable market, about 63% of applications are placed and 17% are declined, the JHA researchers report.

Although the number of new guaranteed renewable policies sold fell 12%, to 59,849, the number of non-can policies sold increased 1.1%, to 182,953.

The total number of individuals covered by either a non-can or a guaranteed renewable policy held steady at about 3.2 million.