WINDSOR, Conn. — U.S. individual life insurance new annualized premium increased 1% in the fourth quarter 2015 — the sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth, according to LIMRA’s Fourth Quarter 2015 U.S. Retail Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey, released March 17.
“While growth slowed in the fourth quarter, individual life insurance premium sales increased 6% in 2015,” said Ashley Durham, assistant research director, LIMRA Insurance Research. “Whole life and indexed universal life insurance products continued to drive overall growth throughout the year.”
Total policy count rose 1% in the fourth quarter and 4% for the year. This is the first year of positive policy count growth since 2012.
Universal life (UL) new annualized premium fell 1% in the fourth quarter, primarily because of a decline in lifetime guaranteed universal life and current assumption UL (down 10% and 14%). Despite fourth quarter declines, UL ended the year up 7%.
Indexed UL premium increased 6% in the fourth quarter. This is slowest quarterly growth indexed UL has experienced since the fourth quarter 2013. In 2015, indexed UL jumped 15% and was the primary driver of overall UL sales growth for the year. IUL represented 55% of UL new premium and 21% of all individual life insurance new premium.
Total UL premium represented 38% of all life insurance new premium in 2015.
Variable universal life (VUL) premium fell 11%, resulting in a 3% decline in 2015. Market share for VUL remained at 7% of total life sales.
Whole life premium continues to enjoy positive growth. In the fourth quarter, WL increased 6% and improved 9% in 2015. This is the 10th consecutive year of positive growth for whole life.
Sixty percent of the companies showed positive growth, including 9 of the top 10 carriers. Whole life was the biggest driver of overall growth in absolute dollars for the quarter and the year.
Whole life represented 34% of the total life insurance new premium in 2015.
Term sales growth was modest, up 1% in the quarter and 2% for the year. LIMRA is projecting little term sales growth over the next couple of years as pricing, reserving and capital issues continue to affect the market.
Term’s market share was 21% in 2015.
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