Life insurance distribution channels in the U.S. 2018

In 2018, 51 percent of the life insurance sales market was held by independent agents. Affiliated agents, also known as captive agents, were the next most used distribution channels.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a tool that delineates what happens when a consumer passes away, financially. It decides how the money is delegated to beneficiaries. Life insurance also comes into practice when a person is unable to provide for their family due to unforeseen illness or disability. Life insurance acts as a safety net for cases of emergency. Signing up for insurance entails picking a policy, paying premiums, and then filing a claim for the payout when needed. The beneficiaries in the life insurance policy get the payout in either a lump sum or in payments, based on what is written in the contract. In the United States, policy holders must pay taxes on the federal and state level for these premiums.

Life insurance in the United States

In the United States, 57 percent of Americans owned life insurance in 2019. The largest life insurance company in the United States in 2017, by assets was Prudential Financial, headquartered in Newark, New Jersey. The total number of life insurance companies domestically has been steadily decreasing since 1990. However, the value of individual life insurance in force since 2008 has slightly increased.

Life insurance distribution channels in the United States in 2018

Market share
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Release date

August 2019


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Independent agents include brokers, stockbrokers and personal producing general agents.
Affiliated agents include career, multiline exclusive and home service agents.
Direct response includes financial institutions and worksite and other channels.

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