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Life insurers and employers were protecting more workers against the risk of death in 2017, according to new survey data from Gen Re.

Employer-sponsored group term life plans covered 4% more U.S. workers in 2017 than they covered the year before.

The average death benefit for workers covered by group term life plans already in force increased 2%, to $94,970.

Premium revenue from in-force group term life coverage increased 4%, to $25 billion.

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Analysts at Gen Re, a reinsurer, based their 2017 group term life market figures on a survey of 25 insurers. They also collected data on 23 issuers of accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.

The analysts include figures for both employer-paid group term life coverage and employee-paid coverage in the survey group term life totals.

A summary of the survey results is available here.

The Gen Re numbers for new 2017 sales look even better than the numbers for 2017 in-force coverage.

Insurers increased the number of employers offering group term life plans 4%, and they increased the number of workers in those newly sold plans 11%.

Because the cost of new group term life coverage was 7% lower than in 2016, the workers with the new coverage had an average of $94,835 in death benefits. That was 12% higher than the average death benefit for new group term life coverage in 2016.

Premiums from newly sold group life plans climbed 13%, to $2.7 billion.

A year ago, Gen Re analysts reported that the number of group term life plans sold to employers with 1 to 9 covered lives had increased 21% in 2016.

In 2017, sales of new group term life plans to those very small employers increased about 10%, according to the new survey report.

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