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COVID-19 Boosts Q4 Life Sales: LIMRA

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What You Need to Know

  • Variable universal life was the leader in terms of sales premium growth.
  • Policy counts for all types of life policies tracked increased at least 7%.
  • Growth in the number of policies was highest for whole life.

COVID-19 put U.S. sales of all types of individual life insurance policies on a rocket in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to new issuer survey data from LIMRA.

The number of policies sold increased at least 7% for all types of products.

Annualized premiums — a measure of sales revenue — fell 1% for term life but increased at least 27% for the other types of products tracked.

David Levenson, LIMRA’s president, suggested in a comment on the results that the strong sales could be partly the result of the pandemic.

“Our research shows that the pandemic raised consumer awareness and demand for life insurance protection,” Levenson said. “Three in 10 Americans tell us they are more likely to purchase coverage due to COVID-19.”

The increase could also be due to some consumers’ efforts to save for retirement and plan for long-term care costs.

For high-income, high-net-worth clients, planning efforts based on products such as whole life and different types of universal life can perform many of the same functions as strategies based on annuities and mutual funds, with fewer concerns about income taxes or estate taxes.

The Data

LIMRA is a Windsor, Connecticut-based market research consortium.

The quarterly survey reports available to nonmembers express sales trends in terms of percentage changes. The quarterly charts do not give the dollar value of the sales totals.

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

  • Variable universal life: Up 65%.
  • Fixed universal life: Up 34%.
  • Indexed universal life: Up 29%.
  • Whole life: Up 27%.
  • Term life: Down 1%.

Here’s what happened to policy counts:

  • Whole life: Up 36%.
  • Indexed universal life: Up 27%.
  • Variable universal life: Up 14%.
  • Term life: Up 16%.
  • Fixed universal life: Up 7%.

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