U.S. application activity for individually underwritten life insurance declined 1.9 percent in August, a new report shows.
MIB Group Inc. discloses this finding in its latest release of the MIB Life Index, a key measure of application activity for individually underwritten life insurance policies in the U.S. The index is based on the number of searches carried out by MIB life member company underwriters on the MIB Checking Service database.
August numbers were bolstered slightly by insurance applications gathered in one fewer business day (22) than the August 2012 comparative period (23). After declining in seven of the past eight months, the MIB Life Index is down -2.3 percent year-to-date.
August application activity rose +1.5 percent from that of July; seasonal monthly growth for this period that may hint at stronger fourth quarter trends. Fourth quarter 2011 to first quarter 2012 growth has given way to a slowdown in application activity for 2013.
U.S application activity for individually underwritten life insurance by age group showed continued declines in ages 45 and below in August. Ages 0-44 were off -2.6 percent, ages 45-59 were off -2.2 percent, with slight year-over-year growth in ages 60+, up +1.0 percent.
Year-to-date, ages 0-44 are off -2.6 percent, ages 45-59 are off -3.2 percent, and ages 60+ remain flat at +0.2 percent compared to the same eight month period last year. Older age applicants (60+) continue to purchase fewer policies, a possible impact of the IRS finalizing the estate tax ceiling at $5 million at the end of 2012, the report shows.
The August dip follows a still large decline in U.S. application activity that MIB recorded in June, when it’s index fell 3.7 percent. And it contrasts with a 4.2 rise posted in March. Last January, MIB disclosed a 1.4 percent rise in the index for all of 2012.