U.S. individual life insurance new annualized premium increased 1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015. This is the sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth, according to LIMRA’s Fourth Quarter 2015 U.S. Retail Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey.
“While growth slowed in the fourth quarter, individual life insurance premium sales increased 6 percent in 2015,” noted 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 percent in the fourth quarter and 4 percent for the year. This is the first year of positive policy count growth since 2012.
Universal life (UL) new annualized premium fell 1 percent in the fourth quarter, primarily because of a decline in lifetime guaranteed universal life and current assumption UL (down 10 and 14 percent). Despite fourth quarter declines, UL ended the year up by 7 percent.
Indexed UL premium increased 6 percent in the fourth quarter. This is the slowest quarterly growth indexed UL has experienced since the fourth quarter 2013. In 2015, indexed UL jumped 15 percent and was the primary driver of overall UL sales growth for the year. IUL represented 55 percent of UL new premium and 21 percent of all individual life insurance new premium. Total UL premium represented 38 percent of all life insurance new premium in 2015.
Whole life premium continues to enjoy positive growth. In the fourth quarter, WL increased 6 percent and improved 9 percent in 2015. This is the 10th consecutive year of positive growth for whole life. WL represented 34 percent of the total life insurance new premium in 2015.
Term sales growth was modest, up 1 percent in the quarter and 2 percent 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 percent in 2015.