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Variable Universal Life Sales Rise 104%: LIMRA

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What You Need to Know

  • The number of new policies sold held steady.
  • For VUL, the new policy count rose 69%.
  • For term life, the new policy count actually fell 7%.

Consumers’ hunger for products that can provide large death benefits and some protection against inflation helped double sales of variable universal life (VUL) insurance in the third quarter, according to insurer survey data from LIMRA.

LIMRA found that new annualized premiums from U.S. individual life insurance policy sales increased 18% between the third quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021.

The dollar value of sales of all types of life products increased at least 4%, year over year, but VUL was the star.

The total number of all types of individual life policies sold held steady. New policy counts fell for term life and increased for permanent life products.

What the Numbers Mean

For financial professionals, the gap between policy count trends and new annualized premiums could be a sign that COVID-19 and low interest rates are causing some life insurers to increase coverage prices, or that prices are rising because the mix of consumers buying policies is changing.

The numbers could also be a sign that new federal income tax rules for permanent life products are helping permanent life sales and leading to changes in the nature of the permanent life products sold.

The Numbers

LIMRA is a Windsor, Connecticut-based group that helps member insurers gather and use market research information. The public versions of its quarterly survey reports show percentage changes in sales figures but not the dollar value of those sales figures.

Here’s what happened to new annualized premiums from the sale of certain types of policies between the third quarter of 2020 and the latest quarter:

  • Variable Universal Life: Up 104%
  • Indexed Universal Life: Up 21%
  • Fixed Universal Life: Up 11%
  • Whole Life: Up 8%
  • Term Life: Up 4%

Here’s what happened to policy counts:

  • Variable Universal Life: Up 69%
  • Fixed Universal Life: Up 36%
  • Indexed Universal Life: Up 6%
  • Whole Life: Up 1%
  • Term Life: Down 7%

(Image: tadamichi/Adobe Stock)