Americans purchased more individual life insurance coverage in the first quarter of 2015, LIMRA reports, with sales of variable universal life insurance continuing to surge.

Total new individual life insurance on an annualized basis increased 8 percent and policy count rose 5 percent, according to LIMRA’s Retail Individual Life Insurance Survey.  

While every product line recorded positive growth in the first quarter of 2015, VUL’s popularity continued, with sales jumping 21 percent.

Policyholders, driven perhaps by the bull market, also favored other income-generating insurance products.

Indexed universal life sales, which now represent 19 percent of all individual life premiums, also showed strong growth, with new, annualized premiums increasing 11 percent.

“This was a strong quarter for individual life insurance in the United States,” said Ashley Durham, assistant research director for LIMRA Insurance Research.  “Indexed and variable universal life insurance sales recorded double-digit growth in the three months of 2015, while whole life rebounded after stalling this time last year.”

LIMRA reports that IUL now accounts for half of all universal life insurance premiums, which grew 7 percent in the first quarter.

Lifetime guarantee universal life insurance saw a 1 percent increase in sales, the first growth recorded in two years.

Whole life new annualized premium rose 9 percent in the first quarter 2015, enjoying the largest growth in absolute dollars. It now represents 34 percent of the total life market.
Term life insurance premium grew 2 percent in the first quarter, its second consecutive quarter of growth. Market share for term life insurance remained steady at 22 percent in the first three months of 2015.

A November 2014 LIMRA study found that less than half of middle-market consumers ages 25 to 64 have individual life insurance coverage.