Total U.S. life insurance new annualized premium increased 17% in the first quarter 2022, representing the fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit premium growth, according to LIMRA’s First Quarter 2022 U.S. Retail Life Insurance Sales Survey.
“Nearly half of life insurers reported premium gains in the first quarter but the majority of the growth came from the top 10 carriers. Nine of the top 10 reported double-digit growth. Combined, their sales increased 32% from last year,” said John Carroll, senior vice president, head of insurance and annuities, LIMRA and LOMA. “While the overall number of policies sold was lower than the record sales set in first quarter 2021, policy sales matched pre-pandemic levels.”
Indexed universal life (IUL) new annualized premium jumped 39% in the first quarter. Although two thirds of carriers reported increases in IUL premium, most of the growth stems from the top 10 carriers, representing more than 80% of the IUL sold in the quarter. Policy count increased 8% in the first quarter. IUL premium market share was 28% in the first quarter 2022.
Fixed universal life (UL) new annualized premium rose 2% in the first quarter. While current assumption products drove the overall growth for fixed UL (up 24%), growth was stunted by lifetime guarantee UL sales, which fell 27%. Despite the gains in premium, fixed UL policy sales fell 9% in the first quarter and its market share decreased to 7% of the total U.S. life insurance market.
Variable universal life (VUL) new premium surged 50% in the first quarter with 89% of the premium coming from the top 10 carriers. This is the 18th consecutive quarter of premium growth. Policy sales grew 28% in the first quarter. VUL held 13% of premium market share in the first three months of 2022.
Whole life new annualized premium increased 9% in the first quarter with 8 of the top 10 carriers reporting premium growth. However, policy sales fell 10%, largely due to a drop in direct-to-consumer sales. Whole life premium represents a third of the total U.S. life insurance market.
“While whole life policy sales were below the 40-year record achieved in first quarter 2021, the number of policies sold in the first three months of 2022 remain above pre-pandemic levels,” noted Elaine Tumicki, LIMRA corporate vice president and director of insurance product research. “This suggests the increased consumer interest in life insurance and the financial protection it provides that began at the start of the pandemic has continued in 2022.”
Term product sales fell for the second consecutive quarter. In the first three months of 2022, term new premium dropped 2% from prior year. Six in 10 companies reported declines in term sales, including half the top 10. Policy count dropped 8% in the quarter. Term’s market share dropped to 18%.
LIMRA’s First Quarter 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey represents approximately 85% of the U.S. individual life insurance annualized premium market.