Indexed life insurance sales totaled $446.5 million in the first quarter of 2017, a figure that was down more than 16% compared with the previous quarter, but up over 3.4% when compared to the same period last year.
Figures from 100 carriers participating in the 79th edition of Wink’s Sales & Market Report were released June 12.
“This quarter, indexed life insurance sales were greater than they have ever been in any first quarter, since their introduction 20 years ago,” said Sheryl J. Moore, President and CEO of both Moore Market Intelligence and Wink, Inc. “I don’t find the sales decline from last quarter remarkable; that is just a cyclical trend in sales of life insurance products.”
Items of interest in the indexed life market this quarter included Transamerica retaining the No. 1 ranking in indexed life sales, with an 11.2% market share. Pacific Life Companies, National Life Group, Minnesota Life-Securian, and Nationwide completed the top five sellers, respectively.
Transamerica Premier Financial Foundation IUL was the No. 1-selling indexed life insurance product for the thirteenth consecutive quarter. The top pricing objective for sales this quarter was Cash Accumulation, capturing 78.7% of sales. The average indexed life target premium reported for the quarter was $8,865, an increase of more than 2.0% from the prior quarter.
First quarter fixed UL sales were $484.6 million. Noteworthy highlights for fixed universal life in the first quarter included Prudential Companies ranking as the No. 1 carrier overall for UL sales, with a market share of 8.4%. Protective Life Companies was second, followed by Symetra Financial, Lincoln National Life, and AIG.
Pruco Life’s PruLife Universal Protector was the top-selling product for fixed universal life sales, for all channels combined, in the first quarter. The top pricing objective for sales this quarter was No Lapse Guarantee, capturing 71.1% of sales. The average UL target premium reported for the quarter was $11,557.
Total first quarter non-variable universal life sales totaled just over $930.3 million. Non-Variable universal life sales include both indexed UL and fixed UL product sales.
Noteworthy highlights for non-variable universal life sales in the first quarter included Prudential Companies ranking as the No. 1 carrier overall for non-variable universal life sales, with a market share of 6%. Transamerica took the second position while Pacific Life Companies, National Life Group, and Protective Life Companies rounded out the top five carriers in the market, respectively. Transamerica’s Transamerica Financial Foundation IUL was the top-selling product for non-variable universal life sales, for all channels combined, in the first quarter.
First quarter whole life sales were $933.1 million. Massachusetts Mutual Life achieved the No. 1 ranking in whole life sales with a 15.2% market share. Mutual of Omaha, Transamerica, Penn Mutual and Americo rounded out the top five.
Penn Mutual’s Guaranteed Choice Whole Life was the best-selling whole life product, for all channels combined, in the first quarter. The top pricing objective for sales this quarter was Cash Accumulation, capturing 52.4% of sales. The average annual premium per whole life policy reported for the quarter was $3,305.
Additional product lines will be added to Wink’s Sales & Market Report, via their quarterly sales survey in upcoming quarters. Immediately, the firm will focus on increasing participation with their current product lines of indexed universal life, traditional universal life, indexed whole life, and traditional whole life product sales. Looking-forward, Wink anticipates reporting on sales of term life insurance as well as variable life and variable UL.
Individual life insurance application activity sluggish in May
Meanwhile, U.S. individually underwritten life insurance activity so far this year remained sluggish in May with the MIB Life Index composite down -2.0%, year-over-year.
After five consecutive months of declining activity in 2017, the MIB Life Index is off -3.3% YTD. In relative terms, the May 2017 composite Life Index value (95.92) is .60 higher than that seen in May 2015 (95.32), the Index’s most recent expansionary period. May application activity was -8.3% off pace from April 2017 levels, but on par with seasonal norms.
U.S. life insurance application activity in May declined across ages 45 and higher and was flat across ages 0-44. Ages 0-44 was 0.0%, ages 45-59 was down -5.2%, and ages 60+ was down -2.8%, as compared to same month last year. With the first five months of 2017 behind us, application activity ages 0-44 are down –2.6% YTD, ages 45-59 are down -5.5% YTD, and application activity in ages 60+ are down -1.7% YTD. May’s results showed a very slight improvement in the YTD percent change for ages 0-44, while ages 60+ YTD worsened slightly. Ages 45-59 continue to account for the lion’s share of 2017 YTD declines.
About the MIB Life Index: The MIB Life Index is the life insurance industry's timeliest measure of application activity in the United States. Released to the media each month, the Index is based on the number of searches MIB life member company underwriters perform on the MIB Checking Service database. Since the vast majority of individually underwritten life premium dollars in North America include an MIB search as a routine underwriting requirement, the MIB Life Index provides a reasonable means to estimate new business activity. For past releases, methodology or to subscribe visit www.mib.com/lifeindex.
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