Variable life insurance sales with single premiums included at 10% for the 38 companies reporting in the VALUE survey for the 1st quarter of 2008 were $620.8 million, a 22.7% decrease from 4th quarter 2007 sales of $803 million.

This is a 1.6% decrease from 1st quarter 2007 sales, which were $631 million.

Full-year 2007 sales were $2.86 billion with single premiums included at 10%.

(Sales include first-year annualized premium, drop-in premiums and 10% of single premiums.)

The market estimate for the 1st quarter of 2008 with single premiums included at 10% is $665 million, down from $675 million in 2007′s 1st quarter.

Variable life sales with single premiums included at 100% for the 38 companies in the VALUE survey for the 1st quarter of 2008 were $626.4 million, a 22.9% decrease from 4th quarter 2007, which had sales of $813 million, and a 2% decrease from 1st quarter 2007 sales, which were $639 million.

Full-year 2007 sales with single premiums included at 100% amounted to $2.91 billion.

The market estimate for the 1st quarter of 2008 with single premiums included at 100% is $670 million, down from $685 million in the same quarter the previous year.

For the 1st quarter of 2008, the top 5 companies/fleets–John Hancock, Hartford Life, Pacific Life, Riversource and AXA Financial/MONY–captured 53% of all variable life sales (including single premiums at 10%), while the top 10 companies/fleets garnered 79% of variable life sales.

These companies/fleets held the same positions at the end of 2007.

For the companies in the survey, the number of flexible-premium contracts issued during the 1st quarter of 2008 decreased 13% from the number issued during the same period in 2007. The average face amount decreased 3% to $423,743.

The total premium for second-to-die products issued during the 1st quarter of 2008 for the companies in the survey was $87.4 million, compared to $81.8 million during the same period in 2007.

The number of second-to-die contracts (including single-premium and flexible-premium products) issued during the 1st quarter of 2008 increased 23% over the 1st quarter of 2007, while the average face amount decreased 7% to $2,136,284.

For the companies reporting sales by distribution channel for the 1st quarter of 2008, career agents and independent broker-dealer firms dominated flexible-premium variable life sales, capturing 41% and 40% of the market, respectively.

Independent broker-dealer firms and career agents also dominated second-to-die variable life sales during 2008′s 1st quarter, capturing 49% and 36% of the market, respectively.

As of March 31, 2008, total variable life assets for the companies reporting in VALUE were $119.9 billion, down 4% from $124.3 billion on March 31, 2007. Of the total assets reported, 91% were held in a separate account.

Fixed account interest rates on VL policies remained relatively stable. The average 1-year interest rate on March 31, 2008 was 4.27%, up slightly from 4.25% on Dec. 31, 2007. The average renewal rate was 4.27% on March 31, 2008, the same as the rate on Dec. 31, 2007.

Leah Wolf is with Towers Perrin, of which Tillinghast is a business. She can be reached at .