Marketing & Sales

Life Insurance Industry Faces Market Penetration Challenge

Steady flow of new policy sales offset by lapse, surrendered

HARTFORD, Conn., July 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The life insurance industry has shown relatively steady sales over the past decade, but the number of policies and resulting market penetration are in decline, according to a new study by Conning.

“The number of in-force individual life insurance policies has been in decline over the past decade despite the steady increase in the prime insurance buying age population,” said Scott Hawkins, a Director of Insurance Research at Conning. “Annual new policy sales of between 9.5 million and 11 million simply could not keep pace with the lapsed and surrendered policies in the period, resulting in negative net policy counts for each year in the period. The larger face amounts of policies issued in the period have resulted in sales figures that mask this downturn in policies and market penetration.”

The Conning study, “2018 Life-Annuity Distribution & Marketing Annual: Confronting the Market Penetration Challenge” analyzes individual life and annuity sales trends by channel and product. Further, it explores the digitization of life industry marketing and distribution, and insurer advertising spends.

Reverse The Decline

“Insurers will look to the distribution force, to their product mix and to the digitization of marketing and distribution to reverse this decline in policies in force and to engage the insurance buying age population,” said Steve Webersen, Head of Insurance Research at Conning. “First, the distribution force has a key role policy conservation by reversing lapses and reinstating policies, in addition to its role in selling new policies. The distribution force needs the right products, however, and our analysis shows that consumer product preference is changing, and insurers need to keep pace. Finally, digitization of marketing and sales support and processes are critical to supporting an efficient sales approach to the emerging life consumer population.”

“2018 Life-Annuity Distribution & Marketing Annual: Confronting the Market Penetration Challenge” is available for purchase from Conning by calling (888) 707-1177 or by visiting


Conning ( is a leading investment management firm with approximately $122 billion in global assets under management as of March 31, 2018.* With a long history of serving the insurance industry, Conning supports institutional investors, including pension plans, with investment solutions and asset management offerings, award-winning risk modeling software, and industry research. Founded in 1912, Conning has investment centers in Asia, Europe and North America.
*As of March 31, 2018, represents the combined global assets under management for the affiliated firms under Conning Holdings Limited, and Cathay Securities Investment Trust Co., Ltd. (“SITE”). SITE reports internally into Conning Asia Pacific Limited, but is a separate legal entity under Cathay Financial Holding Co., Ltd. which is the ultimate controlling parent of all Conning entities.