Voluntary sales increased again in 2013, reaching $6.644billion, up from $6.03 billion in 2012, according to new datareleased by Eastbridge Consulting Group.

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Eastbridge president Gil Lowerre said they are “very pleased”with the findings, adding that “over $6.6 billion in new sales isan outstanding achievement.”

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Determining the actual percentage increase, however, wasdifficult, Eastbridge said, due to several new companies and othercompanies changing the way they report voluntary sales. That beingsaid, they estimated the annual industry sales increase at about4.3 percent.

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The average increase for the top 15 carriers was 8 percent.

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The data comes from Eastbridge’s annual U.S. Worksite/VoluntarySales Report, which analyzes data from more than 60 carriers.

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Inforce premium increased about 4 percent in 2013, the reportfound. The total inforce number for voluntary is now estimatedbetween $27 billion (Eastbridge’s low estimate) to $35 billion (thehigh estimate).

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Last month, LIMRA data found voluntary benefits grew 9 percent in 2013, totaling $4.3billion.

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Benefits experts have anticipated and witnessed sales growth inthe voluntary market in the last couple years, driven especially bythe Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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