Q: Universal Life - Who wanted this?

  • In more modern times, insurance products became considerably more complex (e.g., universal life type products with various forms of guarantees, various forms of renewable term, etc.).
  • These products arose from a significant rise in interest rates in the early 1980’s and a wave of consumer demand for products better meeting their needs.

2020 - IMF - United States - FSAP - Technical Note - Insurance Supervision and Regulation - 1USAEA2020004 - [link-Download-94p]

  • Walter Miller:  Arnold <Dicke> suggested that universal life stemmed from the desire of many consumers to have a product that unbundles the insurance and investment elements.
  • At New York Life, we get a lot of communications from policyowners but we cannot remember one single request for a product that unbundles the insurance and investment elements.
  • I would like to ask how many people here have received requests for such unbundling from the public.  (No hands were raised.)

1981 - SOA - Equity for Existing Policyowners, Society of Actuaries - 24p

  • Actually the demands for many of these new products come from the marketplace.  (p338)

--  Thomas Gregg, National Association of Life Underwriters. (NALU)> 

1983 0510, 0511 and 0728 - GOV (House) - Tax Treatment of Life Insurance - [PDF-991p-GooglePlay,

  • UL insurance was an industry response to those who planned to “buy term and invest the difference” when interest rates spiked in the late 1970s. (p35)

2014 - SOA - Sustained Low Interest Rate Environment: Can It Continue? Why It Matters, Society of Actuaries - 51p

New Products and Special Markets

A. Modern computers make it feasible to consider marketing a flexible policy under which the premiums and benefits could be changed to meet the changing needs of the policyholder.


  • Computers may make it feasible to produce a highly flexible policy with benefits and premiums that vary with the policyholder's whim.
  • Whether it is desirable to do so is another question.
  • The truth probably is that the general public neither needs nor wants a great deal of flexibility.
  • Any attempts on our part to anticipate his changing needs and to build into our policies the necessary flexibility may well be futile for the run-of-the-mill policyholder.

1967 - SOA - Individual Life and Health Insurance, Society of Actuaries - 62p