More than 20% of life insurance policies were sold through direct channels in 2008, according to LIMRA and the Life Insurance Direct Marketing Association.

Direct-sold policies represented about 5% of 2008 life sales premium revenue and 13% of the total face value of the life policies sold that year, according to LIMRA, Windsor, Conn., and LIDMA, Woodstock, Ga.

Direct channels include direct mail, the Internet and the telephone.

The LIMRA-LIDMA study “includes both sales generated directly through carriers as well as by third-party quoting aggregators,” says Ron Neyer, a senior analyst at LIMRA. “Direct marketing accounts for a much larger portion of life insurance sales than previously reported.”

LIMRA and LIDMA researchers estimate that more than 2 million individual life policies were sold through direct channels in 2008. Those sales yielded $675 million in total new premium revenue and provided a total of $233 billion in face value..

The number of consumers buying life insurance online doubled between 2006 and 2008, LIMRA and LIDMA found. The top factors influencing these buyers were price, convenience and a good website.