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Individual Disability Issuers Post Mixed Results: Gen Re

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Individual disability insurance issuers may have covered slightly fewer people in 2019, but their in-force premium revenue may have increased slightly.

Gen Re has reported figures supporting those conclusions in a summary of results from a voluntary issuer survey. Gen Re received data from 16 insurers.

The participants covered about 3 million people through in-force policies last year, or 1.1% fewer than in 2018, according to the Gen Re survey results.

Premium revenue from individual disability insurance policies already in force increased 0.7%, to $4.9 billion.


The number of new policies sold fell 5.9%, to 275,599, but premiums from the new policies that were sold increased 0.7%, to $426 million.

Here’s how premiums from new policy sales for three major types of individual disability insurance policies changed between 2018 and 2019:

  • Non-cancelable: $341 million (up 1.7%)
  • Guaranteed renewable: $72 million (down 3.8%)
  • Buy-sell: $4.1 million (up 0.4%)

A non-can policy is a policy set up in such a way that the issuer can’t cancel the policy, change the terms or increase the premiums, if the policyholder pays the premiums on time.

A guaranteed renewable policy gives the issuer the ability to increase the premiums.

A buy-sell policy is a policy used to protect partners or other stakeholders in a business against the risk that one or more of the other owners might become disabled.

Gen Re’s Views

Some insurers that participated in the Gen Re survey said they exceeded 2019 sales expectations because of strong distribution, or new distribution.

Some insurers that just met, or failed to meet, their sales expectations “listed not having enough qualified distribution to sell their product” as a challenge, according to Gen Re’s comments on the survey results.

“This is certainly a recurring theme that continues to be top of mind for all carriers when asked about their concerns for the industry,” Gen Re says.

Gen Re says it’s watching closely to see how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the individual disability market this year.

“This is going to be an interesting year for all insurance carriers, regardless of product,” Gen Re says.

— Read Why You Should Sell Disability Income Protection Insuranceon ThinkAdvisor.

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