New premiums for individual life insurance fell 11% on an annual basis in the third quarter, according to Limra International Inc.'s sales survey report.

After seven straight years of considerable growth, Limra said that universal life premiums "are experiencing a significant decline in 2008," the Windsor, Conn., trade group said Monday. Those premiums dropped 12% in the third quarter from a year earlier and 2% in the first three quarters of the year, according to the report.

Term sales are holding their own, Limra said; new premiums were flat in the third quarter and fell 1% for the first three quarters of the year.

About 45% of term writers said they have increased their sales over the first nine months of last year, Limra said.

Sales of whole life products increased 7% in the third quarter and 2% in the first three quarters of this year.

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