COVID-19 may have pushed more consumers to apply for life insurance, but the increase in awareness may not yet be doing much for the dollar value of new sales.
Wink Inc. says the dollar value of sales of all of the types of non-variable individual life products it tracks fell at least 6% between the second quarter of 2019.
- A summary of Wink’s latest life results is available here.
- An article about MIB group application activity numbers is available here.
MIB Group, a nonprofit life insurance industry consortium that helps life insurers share some of the data used in life insurance underwriting, says the number of life applications processed through its systems was 1% higher in the latest quarter than in the second quarter of 2019.
Wink bases its numbers on results from a voluntary issuer survey.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based company 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.
Wink has more complete data for some products than others.
The company says it believes it has sales data from life insurers that account for 99% of indexed life production, 76% of universal life production, and 37% of whole life production.
Here’s how the Wink life numbers looked in the second quarter, and how those numbers have changed since the second quarter of 2019:
- Indexed Life: $495 million (down 6%)
- Whole Life: $930 million (down 10%)
- Non-Variable Universal Life: $642 (down 17%)
- Fixed Universal Life: $147.5 million (down 40%)
Sheryl Moore, Wink’s president, said in a commentary included with the results that whole life appears to have a brighter future than other life product Wink tracks, because of the effects of regulatory changes on indexed life products and the effects of low interest rates on fixed universal life products.
“The decline in fixed interest rates, which has plagued the life insurance industry for more than a decade, continues to drive traditional UL sales downward,” Moore said in the commentary.
Wink and MIB
The Wink and MIB numbers may differ partly because:
1. MIB includes term life policy applications in its application activity index, while Wink leaves term life sales out of its sales figures.
2. The Wink survey participant group is different from the MIB system user group.
3. Wink is counting the dollar value of new sales, while MIB is measuring the number of policies sought, rather than the dollar value of the policies associated with the applications.
4. Some people who show up in application counts end up without policies, either because they are rejected or because they fail to take up coverage.
5. MIB may have detected an increase in interest in life insurance earlier than Wink, because some people who applied for policies in the second quarter might not complete their purchases until later in the year.
— Read Q4 Life Sales Were Strong: Wink, on ThinkAdvisor.