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Group disability carriers reporting higher lives per plan

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Insurers say they are seeing some head count growth at U.S. employers with group disability insurance plans.

The insurers said the number of lives per group long-term disability (LTD) insurance case increased 3.6 percent between 2014 and 2015.

In the short-term disability (STD) insurance market, the average case size increased 3.4 percent.

Gen Re, a unit of the Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway Co., and Seattle-based Milliman, an actuarial consulting firm, reported the case count and covered lives numbers in a report released earlier this week. The companies based the numbers on a survey of 26 insurers active in the U.S. disability market.

The companies gave information about the percentage change in the case count and covered lives numbers, but not they are not publishing the underlying numbers.

From 2008 through 2012, during the worst years of the Great Recession, disability insurers said that most group disability plan sponsors were keeping their plans, but that layoffs and hiring freezes were reducing the number of covered employees in each plan.

Because the sponsors of group disability plans tend to be employers with richer benefits packages, growth in head counts at those employers could be a sign of a firming in the market for richer group health plans, group life plans and other benefits products as well as for disability insurance.

Related: JHA: Group LTD Sales Fall 21%

Gen Re and Milliman also published group disability revenue and sales figures:

  • Total STD revenue rose 6.3 percent, to $4.2 billion.

  • Total LTD revenue rose 3.3 percent, to $10.4 billion.

  • New STD sales rose 7.5 percent, to $815 million.

  • New LTD sales rose 2.1 percent, to $1.3 billion.

Gen Re, which was previously known as JHA, once compiled similar group disability market surveys on its own. A comparison of the most recent available report from that earlier survey series and the new survey shows that average levels of premium revenue per covered life were about the same in 2013 and in 2015.

In the STD market, average premium per life for policies already in force increased to $216 in 2015, from $214 two years earlier, according to a comparison of the Gen Re-Milliman and Gen Re surveys.

In the LTD market, average premium per life for in-force policies increased to $253 in 2015, from $245 in 2013.

See also:

Group DI Inforce Premiums Rose 6% Last Year, JHA Reports

Group Disability Sales Rose In 2001

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