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Industry sets records for payouts, coverage and investments in 2017, according to new ACLI Fact Book

Brian Anderson

America’s life insurers set new records last year for life insurance and annuity benefit payouts, coverage issued and investments in corporate bonds, continuing their strong commitment to families’ financial security and investing in America.

These and other industry highlights are included in the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) 2018 Life Insurers Fact Book, released on Monday, Oct. 29.

According to the Fact Book, life insurance companies paid $77 billion to beneficiaries of life insurance policies and $82 billion to owners of annuities in 2017. In addition, life insurers issued a record-high $3 trillion in individual life insurance coverage to help families protect their financial futures from the unexpected death of a parent or spouse. Meanwhile, the industry’s investments in corporate bonds rose to $2.4 trillion, making it the largest institutional investor in these debt instruments that finance innovation, foster job growth and fuel the economy.

Susan Neely
Susan Neely

“The new data tells a familiar but important story – life insurers provide invaluable assistance to American families and the U.S. economy,” said ACLI President & CEO Susan Neely. 
“In very real terms the data illustrates life insurers’ vital role as a private sector safety net. They are helping millions of families remain financially strong after the death of a loved one. They are helping retirees obtain guaranteed lifetime income – that’s a guarantee unavailable anywhere else in the private marketplace. America’s life insurers are helping 90 million families every day.”

The 2018 Fact Book features statistics from 2017, the most recent data available, on life insurance and annuities as well as information on disability income insurance, long-term care insurance and reinsurance. The Fact Book also details the industry’s assets, expenditures, income and liabilities.

Here are some other notable statistics from the Fact Book:

  • 781 life insurance companies were in business in the U.S. at the end of 2017, compared to 797 at the end of 2016.
  • 584, or 75% of life insurers are stock companies while 112 are mutuals.
  • Together, stock and mutual life insurers provide most of the insurance and annuities underwritten by U.S. organizations. Mutual companies had $6.7 trillion of life insurance in force in 2017 and stock life insurers, $13.2 trillion. Fraternal societies and other type companies underwrite the remainder of U.S. insurance.
  • In 2017, there were 76 fraternal life insurance companies that had $346 billion of life insurance in force and $172 billion in assets.
  • In 2017, U.S. insurers employed 2.7 million individuals in all of their branches, a 2.4% increase from a year earlier.
  • Government data on employees of insurance agencies and home offices in 2017 show 1,519,900 insurance home-office personnel (348,300 in life insurance) and 1,135,700 insurance agents, brokers, and service personnel.

About ACLI: The American Council of Life Insurers advocates on behalf of 290 member companies dedicated to providing products and services that promote consumers’ financial and retirement security. Ninety million American families depend on its members for life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, reinsurance, dental and vision and other supplemental benefits. ACLI represents member companies in state, federal and international forums for public policy that supports the industry marketplace and the families that rely on life insurers’ products for peace of mind. ACLI members represent 95% of industry assets in the United States. To learn more, visit acli.com and its blog, ACLI Perspectives, at acli.com/perspectives.



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