Individual life new annualized premium growth turned flat in 2013 after three consecutive years of positive growth.

New annualized premium fell 8 percent in the fourth quarter, erasing the first half of the year’s growth, LIMRA reports.

Total individual life insurance policy count fell 4 percent for the quarter and 3 percent for the year, ending the two years of positive policy count growth (in 2011 and 2012).

“The drop in individual life insurance premium was primarily driven by a 51 percent decline in lifetime guarantee UL (LTG UL) premium in the fourth quarter,” said Ashley Durham, senior research analyst, LIMRA Insurance Research. “However, given the sharp increase of LTG UL sales at the end of 2012 ahead of the new regulatory reserving requirements, the decline was not unexpected.”

Total universal life insurance (UL) new annualized premium was 23 percent lower in the fourth quarter, compared to prior year. In 2013, UL new annualized premium was down 7 percent, but held 38 percent of the total individual life insurance market.

Indexed universal life (indexed UL) improved 1 percent in the fourth quarter, ending 2013 up 13 percent and recording the greatest increase in absolute dollars compared to other product lines. In 2013, indexed UL represented a record 35 percent of UL premium and 13 percent of total life insurance premium.

Variable universal life (VUL) jumped 36 percent in the fourth quarter, increasing 24 percent in 2013. Two-thirds of VUL writers reported increases compared with 2012. At year-end, VUL represented 5 percent of new premium market share. 

Whole life sales remained steady with new annualized premium growing 3 percent in the fourth quarter – the 18th consecutive quarter of positive growth. For the year, WL premium rose 4 percent. WL had the second biggest increase in absolute dollars in 2013 and represented 35 percent of the total individual life insurance market.

Term premium fell 1 percent in the fourth quarter, resulting in a 3 percent increase in 2013. About half the term writers increased their sales in 2013. Term’s market share remained steady at 22 percent in 2013.

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