Michael Quinn, 63, of Flint Township, Mich.,is a disability insurance recipient. (Stuart Bauer AP)

Disability income insurance carriers reported a 2% increase in total in-force premiums for non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable policies in 2011, according to a new report.

Gen Re, South Portland, Me., released this finding in a summary of results from its 2011 U.S. Individual Disability Income Market Survey. The annual industry benchmark survey covers non-cancelable (Non-Can) and guaranteed renewable (GR) in-force and sales premium results for 2011. Seventeen individual disability income carriers participated in the survey.

Non-can and GR in-force premium results increased to more than $4.5 billion, non-can accounting for $4 billion of the total and GR an additional $562 million, the report says. The total number of in-force policies declined (-1%) in 2011 with non-can falling -0.8% and GR dipping -1.8%.

The report says the declines are consistent with the lack of policy growth over the past two years.  Total individual disability income sales premium was 7.1% higher than in 2010, totaling nearly $349 million in 2011, the report notes.

By product, non-can increased 6.9% and GR grew 9.3%.  Total new IDI policies also increased over 6%. By product line, non-can policies grew 6.6% and GR grew 6.9%.

“Overall the 2011 sales results were positive, and while these numbers are extremely encouraging for the individual DI market, we are cautiously optimistic on the direction the industry is headed,” says Drew King, senior vice president of the Group & Specialty Reinsurance Division at Gen Re in a prepared statement. “Carriers will need to continue to innovate and work to differentiate the traditional individual disability income product.”