Insurance customers weren't about to let 2012 close without taking some personal financial preparations into account, a recent survey suggests.
According to newly released data from professional development organization LIMRA, all major product lines for life insurance were in the black in the final three months of 2012.
For example, premium totals jumped 12 percent between October and December of last year - marking the biggest quarterly rise since the beginning of the recession. The total number of policy purchases also ticked upward, logging a 1 percent rate of increase, which marks the second straight year in which policy growth was stronger than the previous 12 months
Ashley Durham, senior analyst for product research, indicated that the industry couldn't have asked for a better three-month period.
"We haven't seen a quarter in which all of the major product lines experienced growth since 2006," said Durham. "Fourth quarter 2012 had a few driving forces, including the continued attraction to guarantees and growth potential, corporate sales, and the anticipation of product changes related to revisions to Actuarial Guideline 38."
Whole life policy purchases were particularly robust. LIMRA says that premium growth topped 5 percent, which led to a 7 percent rate of increase for the entire year. Nearly one-third of the life insurance market is occupied by whole life, representing the highest market share recorded in more than 14 years.
Term sales were the only life insurance policy type that didn't log an uptick. However, LIMRA points out that these, too, should be on the rise in the not-too-distant future thanks to improving economic conditions.
What may have spawned a greater number of life insurance purchases is consumers' recognition of their coverage gaps. A separate study performed by the Guardian Life Insurance Company found that the average face value of today's insurance policy is $390,000. However, customers say they would require at least $1 million to render their financial needs as provided for.