dcsimg

Life insurance policy sales slipped in 1999, but premiums rose

The number of life insurance policies sold slipped for the 16th consecutive year in 1999, while premiums increased for the third consecutive year, according to a survey conducted by a financial services market research group.

[Let Insure.com help you find affordable life insurance now.]

The survey concludes that people are buying fewer, but more expensive policies.

LIMRA International, based in Windsor, Conn., says in its survey "Individual Life Insurance New Business in the United States" that 11,125,000 life insurance policies were sold in 1999, the lowest number since 10,968,000 policies were sold in 1970. More than 6.6 million fewer policies were sold in 1999 than in 1983, when a record 17.7 million policies were sold.

On the flip side, premiums have risen. Insurers took in $10.6 billion in premiums in 1999, up three percent from the previous year.

While the number of policies sold has declined steadily since 1983, the face amount (which is the amount of the death benefit) of insurance sold has almost doubled. The total face amount of all life insurance in force increased 8 percent to $1.4 trillion, the eighth increase in a row. Since 1983, the face value of the average size policy sold has increased 77 percent to $127,000.

The survey concludes that people are buying fewer, but more expensive policies. Maria Dynia, an assistant scientist at LIMRA, says that two reasons for the trend are insurance companies' tendencies to target the "affluent market" — people with the greatest assets — and the increased number ofterm life insurance sales . Term insurance has grown in popularity because it's relatively inexpensive to buy a term policy with a large face amount, Dynia says.

Variable products have jumped in popularity mostly due to strong stock market performance over the past few years, as well as the added options and features companies are now offering with their variable products, Dynia says.

LIMRA's survey encompassed 89 insurers and their 56 subsidiaries, which represent about 75 percent of the life insurance industry.

Life insurance market share in 1990s

Below is the market share for each line of life insurance for each year in the 1990s. Variable life and variable universal life are combined.

Year
Term life
Whole life
Universal life
Variable/Variable Universal Life
1990
13%
54%
26%
7%
1991
13%
55%
26%
6%
1992
13%
54%
24%
9%
1993
13%
52%
22%
13%
1994
14%
48%
22%
16%
1995
15%
46%
24%
15%
1996
17%
41%
22%
20%
1997
18%
38%
21%
23%
1998
19%
34%
19%
28%
1999
20%
31%
18%
31%
Source: LIMRA International

Ready to get a quote?

Get quick and easy life insurance quotes.

Insure.com Redesign Survey