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Despite NAIC guideline, IUL insurance sales remain healthy

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Sales of indexed universal life insurance fell 5 percent in the third quarter of 2016 compared with the year-ago period.

But indexed universal life insurance sales maintained an upward momentum amid industry concerns about a 2015 state-based regulatory guideline governing the product line.

Wink Inc. announced this finding in the 77th edition of its “Wink’s Sales & Market Report,” which surveys indexed universal life insurance sales on a quarterly basis. The report provides sales by product, company, crediting method, index, distribution and surrender charge period, among other parameters.

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Indexed universal life sales totaled $452.9 million in the third quarter ending September 30. This compares with $478.6 million in sales for the third quarter of 2015. In contrast with the year-over-year dip, third-quarter 2016 sales rose 3 percent relative to the second quarter.

“It is amazing to see that indexed life sales continue to thrive in a post-AG 49 environment,” says Sheryl J. Moore, president and CEO of both Moore Market Intelligence and Wink. “This is the second-largest third-quarter sales have been in the history of the product line. IUL continues to thrive.”

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’s Actuarial Guideline 49 (AG 49), which took effect on Sept. 1, 2015, establishes for policy illustrations a benchmark-crediting rate, one of many moving parts in an indexed universal life insurance policy. The guideline also establishes a ceiling for index values used in policy illustrations, limits loan crediting rates to 100 basis points over a charged rate and requires additional disclosures.

Industry stakeholders have feared that the NAIC guideline would lead to greater uniformity, and thus less innovation, in IUL product design. Because policies must now be illustrated based on their general account, cash values will show in most cases a lower amount than when illustrating using an index.

Among the report’s additional highlights:

  • Transamerica maintains its No. 1 ranking in indexed life insurance sales, with an 11.7 percent market share.

  • Pacific Life Cos. moved up to the No. 2 carrier position. National Life Group, Minnesota Life, and Nationwide rounded out the top five companies, respectively.

  • Transamerica Premier Financial Foundation IUL was the No. 1 selling indexed life insurance product for the 11th consecutive quarter.

  • The average indexed universal life target premium reported for the quarter was $8,232, an increase of nearly 29 percent from the prior quarter.

  • The average fixed universal life target premium was $5,861, a decline of more than 4 percent as compared to last quarter.


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