(Westwood, Mass. – November 17, 2004) Applications for life insurance in North America declined -1.9% in October year-over-year, marking flat to declining activity for nine of the last ten months of 2004. January notwithstanding, 2004 year-over-year declines have been relatively quiet, particularly in Canada. Year-to-date (YTD), North American applications were off slightly at -1.4% versus the same period last year; down -1.5% in the U.S. with Canadian activity statistically flat (-0.4%). North American life applications by age group were off year-over-year across the board, albeit moderating from levels seen this past September.
October’s MIB Life Indexsm for the U.S. showed a -2.1% decline in application activity compared to the same period last year. Activity for the month declined across all three age groups; 0-44 off -1.5%, 45-59 off -4.0%, and the 60+ age group off -0.8% year-over-year. Year-to-date, the 0-44 and 45-59 age groups declined -1.8% year-over-year, with the 60+ group running +1.6% ahead of 2003 YTD levels.
Canadian application activity was statistically flat at -0.5% year-over-year, showing marked improvement compared to September’s -2.2% decline. By age demographics, Canadian application activity declined slightly with the 0-44 and 45-59 age group off -0.7% and -0.9% respectively. The 60+ age group remained strong increasing +2.5% above last October, and for the ten months YTD is running +4.4% ahead of 2003 levels.
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About the MIB Life Index
The MIB Life Index is the life insurance industry’s timeliest measure of application activity across the U.S. Released to the media each month, the Index is based on the number of searches life member company underwriters perform on the MIB Checking Service database. Since the vast majority of individually underwritten life premium dollars in North America include an MIB search as a routine underwriting requirement, the MIB Life Index provides a reasonable means to estimate new business activity.
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