(Westwood, Mass. � April 21, 2006) North American application activity for individually underwritten life insurance was off -5.8% in March year-over-year, the second largest decline in March activity over the past four years, according to the MIB Life Index™. The aggregate index was impacted most by a -7.2% year-over-year decline in U.S. applications; in contrast, Canada experienced a +6.0% increase for the same period. Previous year-to-date (YTD) gains were eroded by March declines; for the first quarter 2006, North American applications are off -1.5%.
U.S. application activity dropped -7.2% in March year-over-year, all ages combined. Historical trends show declining year-over-year activity in each of the past four years with a -4.3% average decrease. March declines were evenly distributed across all three age groups: -7.0%, -7.4% and -7.6% for ages 0-44, 45-59 and age 60+, respectively. For the first quarter 2006, U.S. applications are off -1.8%.
Canadian application activity increased +6.0% in March year-over-year, all ages combined. Year-over-year changes in application activity by age group were opposite those seen in the U.S. The 0-44, 45-59 and 60+ age groups increased by +4.6%, +9.0%, +7.2%, respectively. For the first quarter of 2006, Canadian activity is running +1.5% ahead of last year with the 0-44 age group level compared to Q1 2005 (+0.3%), and age 45-59 and 60+ running at a +3.1% and +6.1% increase over Q1 2005, respectively.
This is the first time back-to-back increases have been seen in the Index in over three years. Year-to-date (YTD) North American applications are up +1.2%.
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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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