U.S. individual life insurance new annualized premium increased 1 percent in the fourth quarter 2015, the sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth, according to LIMRA’s “Fourth Quarter 2015 U.S. Retail Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey.”
“While growth slowed in the fourth quarter, individual life insurance premium sales increased 6 percent in 2015,” noted Ashley Durham, assistant research director, LIMRA Insurance Research. “Whole life and indexed universal life insurance products continued to drive overall growth throughout the year.”
Total policy count rose 1 percent in the fourth quarter and 4 percent for the year. This is the first year of positive policy count growth since 2012.
Universal life (UL) new annualized premium fell 1 percent in the fourth quarter, primarily because of a decline in lifetime guaranteed universal life and current assumption UL (down 10 and 14 percent). Despite fourth quarter declines, UL ended the year up 7 percent.
Indexed UL premium increased 6 percent in the fourth quarter. This is slowest quarterly growth indexed UL has experienced since the fourth quarter 2013. In 2015, indexed UL jumped 15 percent and was the primary driver of overall UL sales growth for the year. IUL represented 55 percent of UL new premium and 21 percent of all individual life insurance new premium.
Total UL premium represented 38 percent of all life insurance new premium in 2015. Variable universal life (VUL) premium fell 11 percent, resulting in a 3 percent decline in 2015. Market share for VUL remained at 7 percent of total life sales.
Whole life (WL) premium continues to enjoy positive growth. In the fourth quarter, WL increased 6 percent and improved 9 percent in 2015. This is the 10thconsecutive year of positive growth for whole life. Sixty percent of the companies showed positive growth, including 9 of the top 10 carriers.
Whole life was the biggest driver of overall growth in absolute dollars for the quarter and the year: it represented 34 percent of the total life insurance new premium in 2015.