There was little to rejoice
about in the US group term life and group disability sectors in
2010 with both remaining in the doldrums, according to studies by
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Gen Re just released.

The studies covered group
term life, and in the disability sector short-term disability (STD)
and long–term disability (LTD).

Gen Re senior vice-president
Drew King commented: “2010 proved to be another very challenging
year for most companies in the group life and disability business.
While health care reform has not yet been fully implemented, it
appears to have distracted both employers and group benefits
brokers in the past year.”

Gen Re noted that 32 carriers
participated in the life survey and 28 carriers participated in the
disability survey.

On group term life Gen Re
reported that in-force premium in 2010 grew by 2% compared with
2009 to $20.3bn. Combined STD and LTD in-force premium rose by
about 1% to $13.2bn. STD in-force premium grew 4% while LTD
in-force premium remained level.

In terms of new business, Gen
Re found that group term life sales remained flat in 2010, at

Reported volume decreased by
close to 5% while the average face amount on new group term life
policies fell 10% to $79,204 in 2010.

Combined group disability
(STD and LTD) sales fell by 13% to nearly $2.3bn. LTD and STD sales
decreased by 4% and 17%, respectively.

King was not upbeat on prospects, noting that the uneven
nature of the economic recovery and high unemployment limited
growth opportunities in the group benefits market.