Signs of life emerged in the U.S. life insurance market, as individual life premium rose 7 percent in new annualized premium in 2006. That increase is the largest since 2000, according to LIMRA International. Total face amount sold went up by 4 percent over the previous year.

On a product-by-product basis, universal life and variable UL both grew the most, up by 9 percent each. Term life was up by 5 percent, whole life by 2 percent. Universal life’s market share stands at 40 percent, followed by 23 percent for term, 22 percent for whole and 14 percent for variable UL.

Survivorship sales were down 2 percent, likely over concern about the fate of the estate tax.

Annualized premiums Face amount Number of policies
Universal life 9 percent 7 percent -2 percent
Term life 5 percent 4 percent 1 percent
Whole life 2 percent 0 percent -2 percent
Variable universal 9 percent -2 percent -7 percent
Variable life -4 percent -2 percent -12 percent
Totals 7 percent 4 percent -1 percent