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MetLife announces plan to suspend individual disability insurance policy sales

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MetLife, the largest insurer in the United States, will no longer sell individual disability insurance policies after September 1, 2016.

Kieran Mullins, senior vice president of MetLife's client solutions department, explained the company's decision in a recent memo:

"This was not an easy decision to make, given the growth and strength of our IDI business. However, we believe it is the best course of action for the immediate future. While there is tremendous opportunity in this market, the suspension provides us with the time and resources needed to properly separate the U.S. Retail business from MetLife. There is a significant amount of work to be done to retool existing systems - and implement new systems - that will ultimately provide the most value to our customers and sales partners in the years to come."

According to LifeHealthPro, MetLife was a relatively minor player in the individual disability market in the 1980s and early 1990s, but began to increase IDI sales as the market recovered. A company almanac published in 2005 stated it had 147,000+ IDI policies in force in 2003; since then, very little current data on MetLife's IDI business has been published.

MetLife assured it would continue selling group disability insurance policies and this suspension will not impact current MetLife customers with IDI policies.

Here are some differences between individual and group disability insurance policies:

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