A recent report from LIMRA highlighted the turbulent life insurance market. Ashley Durham, a senior analyst for product research at LIMRA, reported on November 30th that total individual life insurance sales declined 11% in the third quarter of 2009. Total individual annualized premium sales are down 19% year to date in 2009. But not all of the news was disappointing, as whole life grew and term remained flat year-to-date.

The fluctuation in life sales reinforces the importance of a sound multichannel distribution strategy. Life carriers in the U.S. need to understand consumer behavior in order to help agents close new business. Another important element of channel strategy is the growth in direct-to-consumer sales for simple term and packaged life and disability packages. ING and HSBC have been selling direct and growing their share, while traditional agent-based players like MetLife are beginning to promote online quoting through display and search advertising.

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