U.S. long-term care insurance (LTCI) carriers reported big drops in the number of new individual LTCI policies sold in the first quarter and revenue from those policies.

The number of lives covered by new individual LTCI policies fell 33 percent between the first quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, to 31,308, and revenue from new individual policies fell 32 percent, to $74 million.

LIMRA is basing those figures on results from a survey of 15 active LTCI sellers.

The nonprofit research organization did not include figures on in-force business.

The average annualized premium revenue for a new policy increased to about $2,360, from an average of about $2,325 in early 2013.

In March, LIMRA reported that the number of people who had LTCI in 2013 — 4.8 million — was about the same as in 2012.

LIMRA is reporting some data suggesting that smaller players in the LTCI market may be gaining share on larger players.

Revenue from new LTCI sales fell more than 20 percent at 10 participating carriers, but it rose from 10 percent to 20 percent at one carrier, and it rose more than 20 percent at four carriers.

Some LTCI carriers have said they are making intentional decisions to reduce LTCI sales, or to insist that any buyers pay relatively high premiums, because of concerns about low interest rates, uncertainty about underwriting, and restrictions on coverage price changes.

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