According to LIMRA's U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales survey, sales for whole life insurance improved six percent in the third quarter of 2010 and grew 15 percent in the first nine months of 2010.
"Whole life sales growth has slowed compared with the 15 and 23 percent increases seen in the first few quarters of the year," said Ashley Durham, senior analyst, LIMRA product research. "However, it's important to remember that third quarter 2010 is being compared with the time when the double-digit increases began. As of the end of September, whole life represented 30 percent of overall annualized premium sales."
Total new individual life annualized premium was flat in the third quarter after increases of 10 percent the first quarter and seven percent in the second.
For the first nine months of 2010, sales grew six percent.
Universal life (UL) continued to show gains in the third quarter, with premium up eight percent as compared to third quarter 2009. For the first nine months, UL premium is up 11 percent. Indexed UL sales are stimulating overall UL sales, growing nearly 45 percent for both the quarter and year to date.
Guaranteed UL products, representing about half of all UL sales, experienced a bit of decline, dropping nine percent for the quarter and one percent for the first nine months of the year. Overall, total UL market share is back up to 41 percent, just one percentage point below its peak in 2007.
Some of the growth is also attributable to the new Term/UL products, particularly in terms of face and policy sales.
After a few positive quarters, Variable UL (VUL) premium sales were back down, falling six percent in the third quarter versus prior year. VUL sales are up two percent YTD, thanks to a strong first half of the year.
Term sales continued to fall in the third quarter. Premium and policies both dropped 16 percent. The reasons, price increases and/or dropped product offerings to support increased reserve requirements.
Overall, 75 percent of the term writers experienced drops in sales for the third quarter. Year-to-date, new premium is 10 percent lower than the first nine months of 2009 and policy count is down 11 percent.