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Prominent in the product mix

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Even with relatively modest advances in product development over the years, term life insurance has managed to hang onto a substantial share of the life insurance market. Term life sales grew 5 percent in 2007, during which overall U.S. individual life insurance sales rose 8 percent (in new annualized premium), according to LIMRA International. Based on premium, term life now represents 22 percent of the insurance market, compared to 41 percent for universal life, 15 percent for variable universal life and 22 percent for whole life, LIMRA reports. The market share for term life has held steady in the 20 percent to 25 percent range since the late 1990s, having dropped as low as 13 percent earlier that decade, notes Marianne Purushotham, a research actuary who tracks term life trends for LIMRA.