Group disability insurance sales revenue fell in 2008, but group life sales revenue rose, and the total number of workers protected by plans also increased.

Researchers at JHA, Portland, Maine, a research, consulting and reinsurance services unit of General Re Corp., Stamford, Conn., have published figures supporting those conclusions in a summary of results from a survey of 30 disability insurance carriers and 35 group life carriers.

New sales of group short-term and long-term disability insurance fell 5%, to $2.1 billion, with STD sales falling 2% and LTD sales falling 7%.

The decrease in group LTD sales “may be an indication of changes in employer and employee purchasing behaviors as a result of the recession,” JHA President Drew King says.

Although new sales dropped, revenue from in-force cases increased 4%, to more than $13 billion, and the total number of U.S. workers insured against short-term disability increased 4%. The number insured against long-term disability increased 3%, JHA researchers estimate.

The in-force premium growth rate was 6% for STD plans and 4% for LTD plans.

At group life insurers, revenue from all new sales increased 9%, with sales of voluntary life jumping 22%.

Total revenue from in-force group life plans increased 5%, to $21 billion, with in-force voluntary life revenue increasing 10%, JHA researchers report. The group life total includes $1.8 billion in premiums for accidental death and dismemberment coverage.

The average face amount of new group life term policies increased 10%, to about $69,000.