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One Type of Individual Life Policy Escaped the Spring Sales Blahs

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Insurers have reported dull U.S. individual life sales in the second quarter, but sales of indexed universal life (IUL) policies sparkled.

Insurers have also reported solid growth in the number of variable universal life (VUL) policies sold, but the average amount of annualized premiums per new VUL policy sold fell about 5%.

(Related: Variable Universal Life Premiums Grow Again: LIMRA)

LIMRA has published one set of life sales numbers in a new quarterly life data bank report. The report is available here.

Wink Inc. has published another set of life sales numbers here.

Where the Numbers Come From

Both LIMRA and Wink have based their numbers on the results of insurer surveys.

LIMRA offers a public summary that includes percentage change figures for universal life (UL), VUL term life, and whole life products, but not the underlying dollar value of the sales. LIMRA gives change figures for annualized premiums from new policy sales, the face amount of the new policies sold, and the number of new policies sold.

Wink’s public summary gives data on premiums from new policy sales for indexed life, UL and whole life products. The Wink figures for indexed life includes results for both IUL products and for indexed whole life products.

The Numbers

The total number of individual life policies sold in the United States held steady between the second quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018, and annualized premiums from the new policies sold increased 2%, according to LIMRA.

Indexed life: Wink says new premiums from combined sales of IUL policies and indexed whole life increased 14%, to $553 million.

LIMRA says new annualized premiums from IUL policies alone were up 15%.

IUL products now account for 64% of UL product premiums, according to LIMRA.

Term life: The number of policies sold held steady, and new annualized premiums increased 1%, according to LIMRA.

Whole life: The number of policies sold increased 3%, and new annualized premiums increased 2%, according to LIMRA.

VUL: In recent quarters, sales of VUL have been strong. In the latest quarter, the number of new policies sold increased 8%, but new annualized premiums increased just 2%, according to LIMRA. That means new annualized premiums per new policy fell about 5%.


Analysts with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company’s life units say the big increase in IUL sales came even though IUL sales at four of the seven biggest issuers of that product fell, year-over-year.

The company says sales of “linked benefit” life products, or life products that offer long-term care benefits, fell 18%, mainly because of a drop in sales at one issuer.

The company says its own IUL and linked benefit sales were up.

— Read Non-Variable Life Sales Rise 2%: Winkon ThinkAdvisor.

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