Voluntary critical illness insurance sales were up in 2009, while cancer insurance sales declined, according to the U.S. Worksite Sales Report from Eastbridge Consulting Group.

Critical illness (CI) insurance sales soared almost 88% between 2008 and 2009 while cancer product sales went down almost 8%.

“Historically, cancer sales have outpaced critical illness sales by a margin of four to one,” said Bonnie Brazzell, vice president of Eastbridge, Avon, Conn. But in 2009, CI made significant inroads into that margin.

“Cancer sales in 2009 still exceeded critical illness,” said Brazzell, “but the margin was down to two to one.”

Cancer insurance sales totaled $436 million last year and accounted for about 8% of total voluntary sales, down from 9% in 2008. CI sales were $225 million, increasing its share of total sales from just over 2% to 4%.

This is the second year in a row with significant gains in critical illness. The increase in 2008 over 2007 was 19%.

Total voluntary sales for 2009 were $5.4 billion, up 3.3% from $5.2 billion in 2008.

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