Life insurance application volume showed signs of a thaw earlier this year, then froze over.[@@]

The MIB Group Inc., Westwood, Mass., says U.S. life insurers checked 5.5% fewer life insurance applications in February than they checked in February 2004.

In January, MIB found that life insurance application activity rose 0.9%. The January increase was the first MIB had recorded since August 2004.

U.S. insurers in February suffered as the number of applications submitted by consumers under age 60 plummeted.

In January, the activity level of younger applicants was up slightly.

In February, the activity level fell 5.2% for consumers ages 45 to 59. The activity level sank 6.7% for consumers under age 45, MIB says. For consumers age 60 and older, activity rose 1%.

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.