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Insurers Might Be a Little Bored With Critical Illness Insurance

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The number of insurers that participated in General Re Life Corp.’s latest U.S. critical illness insurance market survey, for 2018, is down sharply from the number that participated in the survey that covered 2017 results.

The total number of issuers fell to 53, from 75, according to Gen Re.

The number of active issuers fell to 43, from 51.

(Related: Critical Illness Insurance Sales Rise: LIMRA)

The number of participating, inactive issuers that said they were thinking about returning to the market fell to three, from 16.

Gen Re

Gen Re is a Stamford, Connecticut-based arm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Berkshire Hathaway is best known for having Warren Buffett as its chairman.

Gen Re analysts emphasize in the new report  that they do not believe results from the new report should be compared with results from past Gen Re critical illness insurance market surveys.

A Gen Re representative said, in a note after the original version of this article appeared, that the company made a special effort to expand participation in the survey behind the report released a year ago, and that participation in the survey that covered 2018 results was comparable to the survey participation level for years before 2017.

How the Participants Did

The active critical illness insurance issuers that did fill out their survey forms said that their new sales increased 7.1%, to $460 million, and that their total in-force premium revenue increased 6.2%, to $1.1 billion.

About $87 million of the new sales came from sales to individuals.

The issuers made about $373 million of the sales through group plan sales or through the sales of many individual policies at once at the worksite, through worksite marketing programs.

The issuers were happy with their claims experience: 49% said claims matched expectations, and 46% said claims were better than expected. Only 5% said claims were higher than expected.

For insurers with successful critical illness insurance programs, a reduction in competitors’ interest in the market could lead to a chance to increase sales and, possibly, profit margins.

The Context

LIMRA announced in May that participants in its voluntary benefits and worksite marketing program reported an 8% increase in 2018 critical illness insurance sales.

Eastbridge Consulting Group Inc. announced in June that participants in its voluntary benefits and worksite marketing survey had posted a 12% increase in 2018 critical illness insurance sales.

But DirectPath and a unit from Gartner say the percentage of DirectPath employer clients offering voluntary critical illness insurance fell to 26% this year, from 31% in 2018.


A link to the latest Gen Re critical illness insurance market survey is available here.

Correction: The group and individual market sales figures for 2018 were given incorrectly in an earlier version of this article. The individual market accounted for about $87 million in sales, and voluntary group and worksite sales programs accounted for about $373 million in sales.

— Read Where Did the Voluntary Life Sponsors Go?on ThinkAdvisor.

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