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Final Expense sales grew 9% in 2020 despite dismal March, April

Insurance Forums Staff

Total final expense life insurance premium increased by 9% in 2020 to $480 million among the 19 companies providing sales for both 2020 and 2019 according to a new report from the Life Insurers Council.

At the same time, the report found 2020 annual preneed life insurance premium fell 10% year-over-year.

The 2020 study, conducted by the Life Insurers Council (LIC), part of LL Global, surveyed 24 final expense life insurers that primarily use independent marketing organizations (IMOs) to distribute their products. While overall 2020 sales increased, there was a substantial drop (20%) in monthly sales in March and April due to COVID-19.

“As companies adapted their business operations to adhere to social distancing measure during the pandemic, final expense sales improved in the second half of 2020,” said Jeffrey Shaw, executive director, LIC. “Seven in 10 companies reported an increase in e-applications and a quarter said they enhanced or added telesales to continue serving clients.”

In 2020, 75% of final expense sales were full death benefit policies; the other quarter represented policies that provided a limited benefit in the first few years of issuance. These simplified issue products provide point-of-sale decisions based on a telephone interview, prescription database review and/or MIB review.

In 2020, 24 life insurers reported selling almost 662,000 policies. The average face amount for a simplified issue policy was just over $11,000 and guaranteed issue policy was $8,800. For both simplified issue and guaranteed issue policies, the average age of the policy buyer was 63.5.

LIC also released its 2020 sales results for preneed life insurance based on 15 companies’ results. Unlike final expense products, preneed policies are contracted directly with a funeral home for burial expenses and services. In 2020, sales were $1.4 billion measured by face amount among the 13 companies providing sales for both 2020 and 2019 growth, down 10% compared with 2019 results.

“COVID-19 had a significant impact on the preneed market. April sales alone fell 47%, compared with prior year, and despite rebounding later in the year, sales never reached pre-pandemic levels,” said Shaw.

The majority of preneed sales (65%) were single-pay policies (meaning the policyholder pays for the policy all at once), slightly higher than in 2019. For single-pay policies, the average face amount was about $4,700, a 10% drop from 2019. The average age of policy buyers was 73.6, which is 1% younger than the average buyer in 2019 (age 75).

Each year since 2009, the Atlanta-based Life Insurers Council has conducted a comprehensive survey of the final expense insurance market, focusing on companies that sell through IMOs.

While LIC members receive complimentary access to the full report, LIMRA and LOMA members receive it at a discount while it is also available for purchase by nonmembers.



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