May 30, 2018

Report: CT insurers dominant in consolidating U.S. disability market

PHOTO | HBJ File
PHOTO | HBJ File

Several insurance companies with headquarters or major operations in Connecticut notched some of the nation's highest short- and long-term disability insurance sales in 2017, according to a recent survey.

Milliman, a global consulting and actuarial firm, ranked Bloomfield-based Cigna third, MetLife, the New York insurer with Bloomfield operations fourth, and The Hartford fifth for 2017 short-term disability (STD) insurance sales.

Those three companies, respectively, recorded $110.2 million, $96.4 million and $79.7 million in STD sales last year. Of those, Metlife experienced the highest STD sales increase of 25 percent, according to Milliman.

Meanwhile, the top six sellers of long-term disability policies last year included The Hartford (second), MetLife (third), Cigna (fourth) and N.J. financial services company Prudential Financial, which has operations in Hartford (sixth).

They earned $231.1 million, $184.8 million, $172.9 million and $114.3 million in LTD sales, respectively. Prudential's LTD sales in 2017 surged by almost 52 percent vs. the prior year, and Cigna's sales dropped by 25.6 percent compared to 2016.

Milliman said the industry is consolidating. The Hartford last year agreed to acquire Aetna's group life and disability business, while Lincoln Financial early this year agreed to acquire Liberty Mutual's life unit.

Unum had the highest sales in both markets last year, totaling more than $397 million. But with the addition of Aetna's business, The Hartford last year surpassed Unum in the amount of STD premiums in force, at $712 million, according to Milliman.

Milliman's U.S. Group Disability Market Survey collected data from 25 disability insurance companies that represent more than 90 percent of the market. The survey covered employer-paid and employee-paid STD and LTD insurance products and analysis of premiums, among other measures.

"We're continuing to see strong growth in the marketplace despite consolidation among U.S. group disability insurers," said Jennifer Fleck, the survey's co-author. "And while the market consolidation may have played a factor in poorer performance for some insurers in 2017 compared to previous years, overall new sales for STD and LTD markets are up by a combined 7.3%."

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