NU Online News Service, Feb. 16, 2005, 7:09 p.m. EST

The U.S. life insurance market may be warming up.[@@]

The MIB Group Inc., Westwood, Mass., says North American life insurers checked 0.9% more life insurance applications in January than they checked in January 2004.

The increase is the first MIB has recorded since August 2004.

Demand by U.S. applicants under age 60 has been weak in many MIB activity reports, but activity for the younger age groups seems to have stabilized in January.

In January, U.S. application activity increased 0.2% for applicants under age 45, 0.6% for applicants between the ages of 45 and 59, and 6.7% for applicants over age 59, 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 the life application activity statistics.