In its annual Term and Health Watch report, which looks solely at the protection market in the UK, Swiss Re found IP sales in 2008 increased by 13.5 per cent to 126,815, compared with 111,780 in 2007.
New whole life business also increased by 28 per cent to 282,438 policies, making it the highest level since 2000.
However, new term assurance sales dipped 6.1 per cent to 1,447,895 policies, and critical illness sales fell 4.7 per cent to 511,045.
Report co-author and Swiss Re life and health technical manager Ron Wheatcroft says despite numerous increases, the £2.3tn protection gap still stands, as does the income protection gap, which sees £190bn paid out in annual benefits.
He says: “Various industry initiatives are now, at last, beginning to get off the ground. But to improve consumer understanding of our services and products, these initiatives need to pull in the same direction.
“Getting across to consumers the need to purchase adequate protection becomes even more vital as confidence in the value of, and return on, savings is eroded.”