NU Online News Service, Feb. 17, 2004, 5:15 p.m. EST – The MIB Group Inc., Westwood, Mass., says U.S. life business was slow in January.[@@]

U.S. life insurers checked 5.7% fewer life insurance applications that month than they checked in January 2003, MIB says.

In 2003, activity for U.S. applicants over age 59 showed strong growth while activity for U.S. applicants under age 45 plummeted. In January, activity for applicants over age 59 was flat, and activity for U.S. applicants under age 45 fell 7.3%.

Canada generated stronger activity than the United States generated throughout most of 2003. In January, the Canadian market was stronger than the U.S. market, but application activity was down there, too. The overall Canadian activity level fell 1.6%, MIB reports.

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 the life application activity statistics,