LIMRA released its “U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales” report, which indicates total individual life insurance new annualized premium increased 4% in the first half of 2011. Overall, individual life insurance sales slowed from the first quarter, but still remains positive; premium and policy count increased 1% compared with second quarter 2010, according to Ashley Durham, senior analyst, LIMRA product research. Durham attributes the slowdown in growth to a few companies moving away from lifetime death benefit guarantee universal life products.

Annualized premium sales for death benefit guarantee UL products were 3% lower than they were during second quarter 2010, and level in the first half of the 2011. However, lifetime guarantees held 45% of UL market share through the second quarter.

Indexed UL growth has also slowed over the past few months, but premiums still improved, up 29% in the second quarter of this year compared to 2010, producing a 43% hike during the first six months of 2011.

New UL annualized premiums rose only 1% in the second quarter, which is significantly lower than the 14% jump UL experienced in the first quarter.

UL policy count grew 11% in the second quarter, resulting in a 14% increase for the first half of the year. However, growth was influenced by term/UL, without which, UL policy sales would have only been up 4% for the first half of the year.

Whole life new annualized premium enjoyed a 5% boost in the second quarter, resulting in a 10% increase for the first six months of 2011. Policy count also grew, up 4% for the quarter and 6% year to date. WL outpaced all other products in terms of absolute dollar growth in the second quarter.

More than 70% of writers increased sales in the second quarter — more than half experienced double-digit increases.

Variable universal life new annualized premium grew 3% in the second quarter. Midyear, VUL premium was 9% higher than the first six months of 2010, driven by the 16% growth in the first quarter. VUL policy count fell 11% for the quarter and year to date.

Term life was the only product line to experience a decline in the second quarter. New annualized premium dropped 5% for the quarter and 8% for the year so far. Policy count also declined, down 4% for the quarter and 8% during the first half of 2011. Even if the new term/UL products were included with term premium and policy sales would be down 3% and 4%.

— Written by the editorial staff at Insurance Networking News, a SourceMedia publication.

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