Total U.S. life insurance new annualized premium grew 5 percent in the fourth quarter, resulting in a 3 percent increase in 2016, according to LIMRA’s Fourth Quarter Retail Life Insurance Sales Survey.
In the fourth quarter, policy count fell 4 percent and as a result, policy count growth was flat for 2016.
“As we have seen over the past several years, whole life sales were instrumental in overall life insurance premium growth in 2016,” said Ashley Durham, associate research director, LIMRA Insurance Research. “Since the economic downturn, the U.S. life insurance market has experienced steady growth, with overall premium sales increasing by more than 20 percent.”
Whole life insurance new annualized premium jumped 11 percent in the fourth quarter. For the year, whole life premium improved 9 percent. Seven of the top 10 whole life writers reported growth in the fourth quarter. This was the 11th consecutive year of growth for whole life premium, which has never happened since LIMRA started reporting on product-level data in 1983.
WL represented 36 percent of the total life market in 2016.
Universal life (UL) new annualized premium increased 6 percent in the fourth quarter. Both indexed UL (IUL) and lifetime guarantee UL (LTG) recorded growth in the quarter, which has not occurred in more than three years.
UL premium growth was flat for the year. Total UL represented 37 percent of all life insurance sales in 2016.