Voluntary benefit sales in worksites held their own this year despite the dismal economy, which caused sales to lag in the third quarter.
LIMRA International’s most recent U.S. Worksite Sales survey showed that new worksite product insurance premiums year-to-date as of the end of the third quarter were 1% ahead of last year’s pace. Viewed alone, third quarter sales for voluntary worksite benefits were nearly identical to those from the same period of 2007, reports LIMRA, Windsor, Conn.
Voluntary life insurance remained the leading worksite product in the third quarter, increasing by 7% over the same period a year earlier. Though whole life’s strong momentum cooled down during the quarter, it still increased 16% YTD. Meanwhile, a surge in term products during the most recent quarter helped to push sales for the product up 9% for the first 9 months of 2008. Universal life premiums remained flat through September, LIMRA found.
The overall increase in life premium for the first three quarters was a surprise to Ron Neyer, a LIMRA analyst, particularly considering that as a whole, voluntary benefit sales were flat in third quarter. More carriers appear to be entering the market, which may explain some of the increase, says Neyer.
Stand-alone accidental death and dismemberment insurance sales encountered a difficult year, LIMRA found. AD&D sales reached $22 million, down 28% from the year before. At least some of the decline, however, may be because some carriers are including AD&D premiums in sales of life insurance, which often offers AD&D as a rider, explains Neyer.