Changes in U.S. life insurers’ pricing rules may have cooled sales of non-variable, cash-value individual life products other than whole life in the first quarter.
Wink Inc. found that the sum of fixed universal life and indexed universal life and whole life sales sales fell to $770 million in the first quarter, down $23 million from the total for the first quarter of 2019.
Sales for those products and fixed whole life may have inched up by about $7 million, to $1.8 billion.
- A summary of Wink’s latest life results is available here.
- An article about the previous Wink life report is available here.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based company bases its numbers on results from a voluntary issuer survey.
Wink collects data on whole life sales and fixed universal life sales. It also collects data for an indexed life category that includes both indexed universal life and indexed whole life.
Here’s how the Wink life numbers looked in the first quarter, and how those numbers have changed since the first quarter of 2019:
- Indexed Life: $526 million, up 2%.
- Fixed Universal Life: $244 million, down 12%.
- Whole Life: $1 billion, up 3%.
Sheryl Moore, Wink’s president, said in a commentary included with the results that she thinks a shift to the 2017 Commissioners’ Standard Ordinary Mortality Tables and a shift to principles-based reserving hurt sales, by leading to big premium increases for both indexed life and fixed universal life.
“It is going to get worse from here, as additional rounds of GUL [guaranteed universal life] repricing have already occurred this year,” Moore said in the commentary.
The Wink-LIMRA Gap
Wink’s figures are close to LIMRA’s survey figures for indexed universal life and whole life, but much lower for fixed universal life.
LIMRA found, when it conducted its own issuer survey, that whole life sales were 1% lower in the latest quarter than in the first quarter of 2019, indexed universal life sales were 2% lower, and fixed universal life sales were down 6%.
One possible reason for the fixed universal life gap is a differences in survey participation rates.
LIMRA says the life insurers that take its sales surveys account for about 80% of all U.S. individual life sales.
Wink says its participating issuers account for 51% of universal life sales.
The Wink-LIMRA gap for fixed universal life sales could reflect big differences in different life insurers’ fixed universal life sales results.
Correction: An earlier version of this article summed the Wink sales figures incorrectly. Sales for the products Wink tracks, other than traditional fixed whole life, fell, but an increase in the sales of whole life offset the decrease in the other products’ sales.
— Read Mortality Table Shift Hits Q1 Non-Variable Life Sales, on ThinkAdvisor.