Riding a robust stock market, variable universal life (VUL) insurance has enjoyed the greatest sales gains among all life insurance products this year, according to new research.
LIMRA discloses this finding in its third quarter survey on individual life insurance products. The report reveals that annualized premiums for VUL products grew by 33 percent in the third quarter relative to the same period in 2012, surpassing third quarter premium growth rates of term life (up 5 percent) and whole life (up 2 percent).
Reflecting continuing barriers to sales for universal life products, annualized UL premiums dipped during the third quarter by 8 percent compared to the same period one year ago. Face amounts and number of policies issued for UL also slid by 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in the third quarter.
“While every other product line experienced positive growth in the third quarter, universal life sales were hampered by sustained low interest rates, a volatile investment environment and increased reserve requirements introduced in 2013,” says Ashley Durham, senior analyst, LIMRA Insurance Research, in a press statement. “We anticipate universal life sales to continue to decline through the fourth quarter.”
Annualized premiums for VUL products year-to-date increased by 19 percent, the report adds. This compares to single-digit growth rates year-to-date for other individual products, including, whole life (up 5 percent), term life (up 5 percent) and universal life (up 1 percent).
A LIMRA table comparing annualized premiums, face amounts and number of policies for all individual life insurance products can be viewed here.