UK Protection Insurance 2019: Term and Whole of Life

The UK life protection insurance market for regular individual premiums grew in 2018. This was primarily driven by growth in the term assurance market, with the whole-of-life market growing marginally. Term market growth was primarily due to increased sales of non-mortgage term assurance policies by independent financial advisors. But sales in the direct channel are also increasing, reflecting the demand for purchasing life insurance conveniently online. Underwritten whole-of-life policies continue to be sold by independent advisors, while guaranteed acceptance over-50s products are sold direct without advice. In the future, insurers will look to work with policyholders to improve their lifestyle choices by leveraging the Internet of Things and rewarding positive choices.

This report discusses the term assurance and whole-of-life insurance markets, looking at market size with regards to changes in contracts and premiums. The scope of this report covers the market for individual regular premiums only, concentrating on the main market for all types of consumers seeking their own cover. It highlights how products are distributed, and looks at the key players and their propositions. It provides five-year forecasts of market size in premiums to 2024, and discusses how the market, distribution, and products offered are likely to change in the future.


– Consumer behavior has shifted to put greater importance on the distribution of protection policies through the direct channel. In the guaranteed acceptance space, the direct channel increased its share of the market by 13%.

– The total protection market grew in 2018, with new contracts rising by 5.9% and premiums by 1.5%.

– The top five players in both term assurance and whole of life accounted for over three quarters of the market in 2017. The dominance of a few key players indicates that startups will struggle to succeed without partnerships.

Reasons to buy

– Understand the future of life insurance products and services that are vital to implement.

– This includes engaging in health and wellbeing, personalizing policies, providing customers with rewards and benefits, and improving underwriting and claims processes.

Companies mentioned

Legal & General


Royal London




AIG Life


Zurich life

Scottish Friendly

One Family

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


1.1. Term assurance fueled growth in the wider protection market

1.2. Key findings

1.3. Critical success factors


2.1. Introduction

2.2. The UK protection market experienced growth in 2018

2.2.1. The UK protection market continued its resurgence and saw another year of growth

2.2.2. Term assurance remains by far the most popular product

2.3. Growth in term products drives the performance of the total protection market

2.3.1. CI as a rider is most popular among mortgage-related term assurance customers

2.3.2. Continued growth in the mortgage lending market provides opportunities for term assurance providers

2.4. The two sides to the whole-of-life market

2.4.1. The whole-of-life market experienced growth in premiums and contracts in 2018

2.4.2. Inheritance tax influences the whole-of-life underwritten market


3.1. All distribution channels experienced growth in 2018

3.1.1. The restricted advice channel experienced the most growth for the year

3.1.2. Mortgage-related products remain a stronghold for banks

3.2. IFAs remain dominant in the distribution of term assurance

3.3. The distribution of whole-of-life products remains divided by policy type

3.3.1. The non-advised channel dominates the distribution of guaranteed acceptance policies

3.3.2. The complexity of underwritten whole-of-life policies makes them ideal for the IFA channel


4.1. Product complexity restricts new entrants’ ability to gain market share

4.2. The life insurance market is dominated by a handful of providers

4.2.1. Legal & General dominated the individual term assurance market in 2017

4.2.2. SunLife remained the largest player in the whole-of-life market in 2017

4.3. Competitor profiles of chosen term and whole-of-life providers

4.3.1. Legal & General uses rewards to attract new customers

4.3.2. Aviva allows for direct purchasing of standard policies online

4.3.3. SunLife is a specialist in the over-50s market

4.3.4. Royal London has a strong position in both the term assurance and whole-of-life market

4.3.5. Vitality remains one of the most innovative providers in the market


5.1. The life insurance market is forecast to grow over the coming years

5.1.1. The term assurance market will exhibit strong growth

5.1.2. The whole-of-life market is forecast to contract slightly over the next five years

5.2. Policyholders’ personal data will shape products going forward

5.2.1. Technological advances in the IoT will enable greater personalization

5.2.2. Technology could open the market up to those previously priced out

5.2.3. Policyholders must be kept in the loop with insightful data

5.2.4. Quotations have the potential to be disrupted by new technology

5.3. Innovation is occurring across different areas of life insurance

5.3.1. Royal London’s adoption of motor pricing software highlights that innovation can be found outside of life insurance

5.3.2. Aviva increases its support services for bereaved families

5.4. The direct channel will grow in importance

5.4.1. Customer purchasing behavior in other markets will force the industry to invest in the direct channel

5.5. Advancements in medical capabilities could alter risk assessment


6.1. Abbreviations and acronyms

6.2. Definitions

6.3. Methodology

6.3.1. GlobalData’s 2018 UK Insurance Consumer Survey

6.3.2. GlobalData’s 2018 UK Life & Pensions Survey

6.3.3. Forecasting methodology

6.4. Secondary sources

6.5. Further reading

List of Tables

List of Tables

Table 1: Total UK protection market, 2014–18

Table 2: Year-on-year change in new premiums and contracts by protection product type, 2014–18

Table 3: Year-on-year growth of contracts and premiums in the term assurance market, 2014–18

Table 4: Year-on-year growth of contracts and premiums in the whole-of-life market, 2014–18

Table 5: Annual growth rates of contracts and premiums across distribution channels, 2014–18

Table 6: Percentage of term assurance policyholders who are open to using an activity tracker

List of Figures

List of Figures

Figure 1: The UK protection market experienced growth in both premiums and contracts in 2018

Figure 2: Term assurance products continue to dominate the UK protection market

Figure 3: All forms of term assurance saw an increase in the number of new contracts in 2018

Figure 4: Consistent growth in mortgage lending provides the protection market with solid foundations to grow from

Figure 5: Guaranteed acceptance policies accounted for 90.4% of whole-of-life contracts in 2018

Figure 6: The independent advice channel accounted for over half of new premiums in 2018

Figure 7: The impact of the RDR slashed banks’ share of distribution

Figure 8: The non-advised channel is growing in the distribution of mortgage-related policies

Figure 9: The non-advised channel accounted for almost 90% of premiums in the guaranteed acceptance market in 2018

Figure 10: Legal & General held a commanding share of the term assurance market in 2017

Figure 11: SunLife accounted for four in 10 new policies in the whole-of-life market in 2017

Figure 12: The total life insurance market is forecast to grow from 2018 to 2024

Figure 13: Forecasting methodology


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