More than a fifth of all individual life insurance policies sold in the United States in 2008 were sold via the Internet, direct mail and telephone, according to new data from LIMRA and the Life Insurance Direct Marketing Association.
Researchers at the two groups estimate that more than 2 million individual life insurance policies were sold through such direct marketing in 2008. Sales totaled $675 million in new premium and had a total face value of $233 billion.
Term life insurance accounts for most of those sales, Ronald R. Neyer, a senior analyst at LIMRA Distribution Research, wrote in an e-mail. The collection of the data marks the first time that the groups have been able to quantify the amount of individual life insurance sold through direct channels, he said.
"Carriers are always searching for ways to effectively reach the middle market audience, and recent technological advances have certainly enhanced the capabilities of direct response channels," Mr. Neyer said. "Embracing direct marketing will assist carriers in reaching customers who have fallen off their agents’ radar. And savvy agents can also benefit, by using direct channels to augment their personal client bases."
LIMRA and LIDMA cited price, convenience and a good website as the most important factors driving consumers to buy online from a particular company. The organizations predicted that over the next five to 10 years more consumers will turn to direct channels to purchase life insurance.