NU Online News Service, July 15, 2004, 5:17 p.m. EDT

The MIB Group Inc., Westwood, Mass., says U.S. life insurers checked 3.1% fewer life insurance applications in June than they checked in June 2003.[@@]

Strong demand by applicants over age 59 has stabilized the U.S. activity level for months, but activity in that age group sank 7.3% in June, MIB says.

U.S. activity has been weak for more than a year, and activity dropped 1.4% between the first half of 2003 and the first half of 2004.

Canada has been more active than the United States. There, first-half activity was up 0.3%, and June activity was up 5.3%, 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.