NU Online News Service, Jan. 14, 2:55 p.m. – The MIB Group Inc., Westwood, Mass., says U.S. life insurers checked 2.4% fewer life insurance applications in December 2002 than they checked in December 2001.

Activity has declined for three straight months.

The number of life applications submitted for U.S. residents over age 60 increased 9.5% from December 2001, but the number submitted for applicants under age 45 fell 4.6%, MIB says.

“Growth in the U.S. market remained elusive in 2002,” says Stacy Gill, a vice president at MIB’s e-Services Corp. unit. “While encouraging signs can be seen in older-age markets, they account for less than 10% of the activity measured.”

MIB is a nonprofit group that collects information about individual life insurance customers for most U.S. life and health insurance companies. The group uses the search activity statistics for its own databases to compute a life application activity index. The life index includes results for policies that account for more than 95% of all U.S. individual life premium revenue, MIB says.