U.S. life insurers may have received fewer requests for individual coverage in December 2006.

The MIB Group Inc., Westwood, Mass., says U.S. life insurers checked 6.5% fewer individually underwritten life insurance applications in December 2006 than they checked in December 2005, and 3.8% fewer individual applications in all of 2006 than they checked in 2005.

Year-to-year activity comparisons increased in January and February but started falling in March.

The MIB activity index has fallen during most months during the past 3 years.

U.S. application volume was down 4.6% in 2006 for U.S. applicants ages 0 to 44; down 2.9% for applicants ages 45 to 59; and down 2% for applicants ages 60 and over.

Members of the 0-44 age group account for 62% of application volume, and the number of applications checked for people in that age group has fallen 8.7% over the past 2 years, MIB reports.

“Premiums rise, average face amounts rise, and the middle and lower end of the market remain underserved,” Stacy Gill, a MIB executive, says in a statement about the latest results.