Overall U.S. life insurance application activity slowed in March, with the composite Index falling -4.9%, YOY, according to the latest edition of the MIB Life Index. For the first quarter, the MIB Life Index is off -1.0% versus Q1 2018.
MIB says the declines are due in large part to younger buyers, who account for 53% of the total Life Index, staying away from the market, while older buyers are doing their best to boost activity.
When broken down into activity by age groups, March application activity 0-44 was off -9.1% YOY, ages 45-59 were off -4.5% YOY, and ages 60+ were up 7.6% YOY. At the end of Q1 2019, activity ages 0-44 are off -6.1%, ages 45-59 are up 0.5%, and ages 60+ are up 12.6% YTD. Application activity ages 60+ are showing their first double-digit quarterly growth in nearly a decade.
March activity for the composite Index was up slightly (0.8%) from that of February. Much of the reason for the severity of the year-over-year decline in March, MIB notes, was that March 2018 comparative period was so good, being up a significant 6.7% from the year before.
The MIB Life Index is the life insurance industry’s timeliest measure of application activity across the U.S. Released to the media in the second week of each month, the Index is based on the number of searches member company underwriters perform on the MIB Checking Service database. Since the vast majority of individually underwritten life premium dollars in the U.S. include an MIB Check as a routine underwriting requirement, the MIB Life Index provides a reasonable means for estimating new business activity.