<p>WINDSOR, Conn. – Individual life insurance sales in 2001 fell in the face of an unstable stock market and an uncertain estate tax, despite a slight surge in the fourth quarter that was possibly prompted by the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, according to LIMRA International, a provider of research, consulting and learning services. LIMRA’s latest survey of new individual life insurance sales shows that although individual policy sales in the fourth quarter of 2001 increased by 8% in face amount and 5% in number of policies sold, compared to the final quarter of 2000 annualized premiums fell by 1% percent. “While policy sales are headed in the right direction, there’s still a way to go to achieve the levels of just a few years ago,” said Elaine Tumicki, assistant vice president of product and distribution research for LIMRA. “Recent hot sellers have cooled off and products that were in a state of decline are showing new signs of life. There has been some evidence of a surge in individual life activity after the events of September 11 and there’s substantial interest in whether the increases in applications are translating into increases in paid-for policies.” Overall in 2001 sales were down with a reported 3% percent drop in annual premiums, a 5% percent fall in the number of policies sold, and a 7% percent decrease in face amounts for the full year compared to 2000. According to Tumicki, over a year of declines in the stock market have taken its toll on variable life insurance products with individual variable universal life insurance and variable life insurance policies posting the first yearly declines in new premiums since 1995 -the second yearly drop in the past decade. On the upside, individual universal life sales increased 18% over 2000 making it the best year in terms of growth since the mid-1980′s and a 5% increase in new premiums for individual whole life policies stopped a decade-long series of yearly declines. Hardest hit in 2001 were sales of survivorship life and survivorship VUL policies. Premium, face amount, and policy counts of survivorship life were all down more than 25% compared to 2000, and survivorship VUL showed a quarterly decrease of 39% in premium compared to the fourth quarter of 2000. “There may be light at the end of the tunnel for survivorship,” said Tumicki. “As consumers and advisors recognize the prospects for a permanent repeal of the estate tax are very dim, survivorship sales should begin to recover.” The LIMRA survey tracks new individual life insurance sales for the fourth quarter and year-end 2001 for 84 insurers and their 73 subsidiaries that make up approximately 80% of life insurance market.</p>

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