Annualized life insurance premiums grew by 1 percent in the first quarter of 2008, according to LIMRA International, but the small uptick belied the overall numbers. Universal life was the only product to produce more new premium in the first three months of the year, while variable, variable UL, term and whole life all saw sales decreases.

Total face amount stayed flat in the first quarter, as UL and whole life saw increases of 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Of the 78 companies surveyed, 42 experienced declines, and 70 percent of the declines were in double digits. Conversely, of the companies to experience increases, 70 percent of those were in double digits. In another “yes, but” statistic, the number of policies sold was down overall, but the average size of polices was up.