Takeover sales accounted for about 38% of new voluntary sales premium in 2009, up from about 29% in 2008, according to Eastbridge Consulting Group Inc.

The percentage of voluntary market sales coming from takeovers – moves by insurers to replace similar plans issued by other carriers — has been increasing for several years now, says Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge, Avon, Conn.

Group benefits companies face the takeover issue more often than insurers that offer only individual voluntary benefits do, Eastbridge says.

The share of sales resulting from takeovers is often more than 50% at group companies, and it tends to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15% at individual benefits companies, Eastbridge reports.

“We all don’t have to chase after the existing voluntary business,” Lowerre says. “There is a lot of virgin business in the market, and many employers are open to adding more types of voluntary products than they offer today.”

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