indexed life insurance policies continued to sell well in the fourth quarter, as sales of two other types of non-variable cash value life insurance dropped.

Wink — a Des Moines, Iowa-based life and annuity market monitoring firm — published on Tuesday a  new insurer survey report exploring U.S. individual life insurance sales trends.

The Wink survey covers non-variable, permanent life products. It does not include term life insurance, which has no built-in cash value, or variable universal life.

The firm received market data from 49 indexed life issuers, 72 whole life issuers and 58 fixed universal life issuers.

Here’s how the fourth quarter numbers for 2022 compared to the fourth quarter of 2021:

  • Indexed life: $752 million (+4.7%)
  • Whole life: $1.2 billion (-17.6%)
  • Fixed universal life: $110 million (-21.7%)

Overall sales of the three types of products Wink tracks fell 13%, year-over-year, to $2.1 billion.

Sheryl Moore, Wink’s CEO, noted that the sales of fixed universal life were especially weak.

“Universal life sales are likely the lowest they have been since the product was developed nearly 45 years ago,” Moore said. “There definitely needs to be some new innovation in the market, if carriers want to revive the product line.”

Moore pointed out that one reason for the indexed life sales gains may be the new Actuarial Guideline 49-B indexed life illustration rules that could take effect in May.

Some agents could be rushing to get applications in and sales closed before illustration standards shift.

“Indexed life is anticipated to have a reduction in sales, once AG 49-B takes effect, but sales should rebound thereafter,” Moore said.

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