NU Online News Service, Feb. 19, 3:43 p.m. – The MIB Group Inc., Westwood, Mass., says U.S. life insurers checked 8.1% fewer life insurance applications in January than they checked in January 2002.

January marks the fourth consecutive month of declining activity in the U.S. market.

Activity among U.S. residents over age 59 is close to a four-year high, but activity among residents under age 45 is at its lowest level in almost four years, according to MIB.

Consumers under age 45 account for 63.4% of U.S. application activity.

The recent slump in activity levels is not all that surprising to Stacy Gill, MIB’s chief knowledge officer. He cites speculation that the increase in sales in 2002 could be related to the lingering effects of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“Viewed against January 2001 levels, U.S. application activity shows an insignificant 0.3% decline, suggesting the January 2002 measure was strong, relative to historical levels,” Gill says.

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