There's something confusing about numbers from Eastbridge's confidence index survey. Though confidence for the voluntary market is generally down, the majority of respondents (86 percent) still believe the industry's voluntary sales will increase over the next 12 months. That's just slightly down from the 87 percent who believed this as of December 2010.

But, Eastbridge President Gil Lowerre says, "while the total percentage is about the same, the percentage thinking that sales will 'increase a lot' went down significantly. Because of this the mean for this question decreased to 4.07, down from 4.16. This, taken with other dips in the key index measures, contributed to a dip in the overall index number to 98.4."

And there was a large increase in the percentage of respondents expecting a negative impact to sales from the economy—53 percent of respondents feel there will be a negative impact, up from just 33 percent as of December 2010.

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