Individual life premium improves 4% in 3Q while IUL up 18% YTD; more LIMRA news on future of call centers and big data analytics

Total individual life insurance new annualized premium improved 4% in the third quarter, according to LIMRA’s Retail Individual Life Insurance Survey.

In the first nine months of 2014, individual life insurance premium fell 1%. Policy count dropped 1% in the third quarter and 3% year-to-date (YTD).

Universal life (UL) premium rose 2% in the third quarter but has fallen 8% YTD. Lifetime guaranteed universal life dropped 10% in the third quarter, which is actually an improvement following 48% and 30% drops in the first and second quarters respectively.

IUL premium jumped 19% in the third quarter, resulting in 18% growth YTD. LIMRA finds IUL experienced the strongest growth in absolute dollars for both the quarter and YTD. In the third quarter, IUL represented the majority of all UL premium (51%), and 19% of overall individual life premium.

Total UL market share was 38% in the third quarter.

Whole life premium increased 6% in the third quarter, growing 2% YTD. Policy count fell 2% in the third quarter and 3% in the first nine months of 2014. WL premium represents 32% of the total individual life market for the quarter.

Variable universal life (VUL) premium was up 22% in the third quarter, resulting in a 26% increase YTD, which represents the second strongest growth in absolute dollars. This marks the eighth consecutive quarter of positive growth for VUL. VUL represented 8% of total life insurance sales in the third quarter.

Term premium was flat in the third quarter, falling 2% YTD. Term’s market share was 22% in the third quarter.

View the latest data table on U.S. life insurance sales trends. For more statistics, visit the newly updated Data Bank

LIMRA study suggests future role of contact centers more than answering phones; sales role predicted to increase

A new LIMRA study concluded that the future of financial services contact centers will go well beyond answering consumer phone calls.

Contact center executives from 46 different financial services companies predicted that within five years communication by phone will decrease while the use of online chat, email and social media will all increase. While the phone will remain a primary channel, 92% of executives predict that contact center phone usage will decrease in the future. Nine out of 10 executives predict online chat to increase while 69% see gains in email usage and 62% say social media will increase in the next five years.

Nearly 7 in 10 executives expect an increase in complex inquiries and a decrease in routine ones. Executives are also looking for contact centers to increase revenue-generating functions. Roughly 60% of executives anticipate their agents will do more cross-selling, up-selling, and engage in more direct selling five years from now. As the functions of the contact center change, it follows that the skills and qualifications of the people working there will, too. Among the qualifications that will be considered more important in the future are prior experience in sales, predicted by 52% of executives and prior financial services experience cited by 40%.

Because consumers increasingly expect an integrated omnichannel experience when they contact a company, 93% of executives said integration of communication channels was a priority for contact centers.

Life insurers invest in big data analytics, LIMRA reports

Nine in 10 life insurance companies report using big data analytics to better compete in today’s market, according to a new LIMRA report.

“While most companies are exploring big data analytics programs, less than a third feel they are ahead of their competition in this field,” said Norah Denley, senior research analyst, LIMRA Technology Research. “LIMRA believes as companies innovate and find ways to use new technologies to improve business results, there will be differentiation within the market.”

While two-thirds of companies say they have been using big data analytics for less than five years, 33% who have full-scale operations say their programs have been in place for more than a decade. Nearly half of companies are using big data analytics for six or more functions within their organizations, including: marketing initiatives, sales lead generation, underwriting, claims/fraud detection and prevention, improving sales productivity and product development.

As companies explore how best to run these programs, many different models are emerging. The study revealed that one quarter of companies’ big data analytics programs are led by specific business units; another 20% business-unit led with corporate support. Twenty-six percent of companies have established Centers of Excellence for their programs and 11% have their programs fully centralized. The remaining companies have various other structures in place.

Not unexpectedly, funding and executive buy-in are the two most cited hurdles for companies to implement big data analytics programs (click here to see chart) as companies try to decide how valuable these programs will be to their organizations. But legacy systems and staffing also are a challenge. Currently most companies say they have fewer than 10 people dedicated to their big data analytics program and half report finding staff with the right business skills difficult.

The report, The Big Picture: Big Data Analytics in Financial Services, is based on the results from an online survey of 44 companies in May 2014.


Windsor, Conn.-based LIMRA, a worldwide research, learning and development organization, is the trusted source of industry knowledge, helping more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 64 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at