Good news for the life insurance market from the halfway point of 2021, as U.S. application activity was up 7.3% year-to-date through June.
According to the MIB Life Index, activity in June was flat at +0.5%, and the second quarter was up 4.3% compared to last year, representing the eighth consecutive quarter with YOY quarterly gains and the highest Q2 YOY growth on record.
While the YOY comparison is impacted by fluctuations in Q2-2020 activity due to COVID, activity for Q2 surpassed results for Q2-2019 (+5.2%) and Q2-2018 (+3.2%). Additionally, total volume at-the-half for 2021 is the highest on record since 2017.
Trends across age groups have begun to shift in the first half of 2021 with older age bands beginning to grow YOY and younger age bands slowing in growth or beginning to decline. On a quarterly basis, all age groups are at growth in Q2-2021 over Q2-2020 with the percentage of growth increasing as age increases. Additionally, for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, YOY quarterly growth for age 71+ has outpaced all other age groups. Since COVID-19 affected 2020 results, it is worth noting that trends are slightly different when comparing 2021 to pre-COVID activity.
All age groups experienced growth for Q2-2021 compared to Q2-2019 except those ages 71+ who experienced a slight decline. YTD all age groups were at growth as of mid-year 2021 compared to mid-year 2020. When comparing to mid-year 2019 all ages are at growth except age 71+ where growth was flat.
YOY for June and Q2 both saw aggregate growth across all face amounts up to $250,000 and over $500,000, in the double digits for amounts over $1 million. For amounts over $250,000 up to and including $500,000, June YOY saw declines while activity in Q2-2021 compared to Q2-2020 was flat.
When examining age bands, Q2 YOY activity was at growth for all face amounts across all age bands except for a minor decline for age 31-50 for face amounts over $250,000 up to and including $500,000 and a double-digit drop for ages 71+ for face amounts over $5M. Double-digit growth was seen for ages 0-30 for face amounts over $1M up to and including $2.5M and for amounts over $5M, for ages 31-50 for face amounts over $1 million, for ages 51-70 for face amounts over $500,000 and for all face amounts up to and including $5 million for ages 71+.
While Q1-2021 saw growth across all product types when compared to 2020, Q2 YOY saw a shift with declines in Term, growth in Universal Life and double-digit growth in Whole Life.
Term Life experienced Q2 declines YOY across all age bands while Universal Life was flat for age 0-30, saw double digit growth for ages 31-50 and 71+, and was at growth for all other age bands.
Whole Life was at double-digit growth in Q2 YOY across all age bands except ages 31-50 where growth was just under +10%. While a trend to watch, the Q2 drop in Term Life activity has not yet impacted YTD figures which at the half show all product types at growth with Universal Life and Whole Life in double-digit growth.