NU Online News Service, April 21, 2003, 5:23 p.m. EDT – The MIB Group Inc., Westwood, Mass., says U.S. life insurers checked 3.8% fewer life insurance applications in March than they checked in March 2002.

U.S. buyers have been sluggish for month, but they did submit 9.8% more individual life applications in March than they did in February.

The increase in activity between February and March suggests “that the extended period of weak underwriting and moribund growth could be behind us,” according to Stacy Gill, MIB’s chief knowledge officer.

The Canadian individual life market continues to be more energetic than the U.S. market: Canadian life insurers submitted 5.6% more applications to MIB in March than they submitted in March 2002.

U.S. life insurers have gotten most of their increases in activity from consumers over age 59, but Canadian life insurers have had good luck with younger consumers, MIB 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. and Canadian individual life premium revenue, MIB says.