According to LIMRA’s sales survey, the new annualized premium for individual life insurance dropped 11 percent in the third quarter.

“Variable life (VL) and variable universal life (VUL) products saw the steepest decline, plunging 33 percent for the quarter,” said Ashley Durham, LIMRA analyst for product research. “Given the current equity market environment, it’s not surprising that variable products took the biggest hit. Not only are individual VUL sales suffering, a number of companies have noted that corporate owned and private placement sales are much lower than they were this time last year.”

For seven consecutive years universal life sales experienced consistent growth, but this year, they are experiencing a significant decline. In 2007, premium sales experienced a similar drop of 12 percent in the third quarter

In comparison, sales in whole life products saw a dramatic jump in the third quarter — up 7 percent for the quarter and 2 percent year-to-date. According to survey responses, most of the increase came from the traditionally top sellers who have been trying to renew interest in their whole life products this year. They attributed the increases to factors such as product introductions and fire sales.