WINDSOR, Conn., July 21, 2016—Final expense life insurance sales increased 5 percent and policy count rose 4 percent in 2015 (compared with 2014 results), based on a survey by the Life Insurers Council, CSG Actuarial, Inc. and Competiscan.
“While some carriers have been very successful selling final expense life insurance directly to consumers, more than 80 percent of policies were sold through independent agents or independent marketing organizations (IMOs),” noted Jeffrey Shaw, executive director, Life Insurers Council, a subsidiary of LOMA. “We saw policies sold direct were most likely guaranteed issue contracts with limited initial death benefits and those sold through IMOs tended to be simplified issue contracts with full immediate death benefits. Given the operational challenges involved with managing high-volume, low-premium simplified issue policies, we anticipate more carriers expanding their direct distribution channel.”
Thirty-one carriers participated in the 2015 survey but only 23 reported sales for both 2014 and 2015. Of the reporting 2015 data, 60 percent of the policies sold were to women and 40 percent to men. The average age of purchase was 63 years old. There has been a gradual increase in average issue age over the past nine years (66.5 in 2012 to 66.8 in 2015). Researchers note that many companies have stopped selling to consumers 50 years old and younger, which could be contributing to the rise in average issue age.
Although there are a few companies that sell very high volumes of final expense business on a direct to consumer basis, 81 percent of the final expense premium sold in 2015 was through independent agents. Affiliated agents sold 18 percent of the final expense premium in 2015.
The study found that agents selling final expense life insurance generally sell simplified issue policies with full death benefits. Ninety-one percent of the premium sold in 2015 was simplified issue. Limited death benefit policies are offered to a small segment of their prospects that do not qualify for a full death benefit due to health reasons. This contrasts with direct selling companies that focus primarily on guaranteed issue contracts, which was only 6 percent of the premium collected.
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