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MIB Life Index up 1.4% in 2012

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U.S. application activity for individual underwritten life insurance was up 1.4 percent year-to-date (YTD) as compared with 2011 numbers, all ages combined.

MIB Group Inc. published the findings in its MIB Life Index, a measure of life insurance application activity in the U.S.

The index, which is released monthly, is based on the number of searches MIB life member company underwriters perform on the MIB Checking Service Database.

This year’s results were driven by strong activity in the first half of the year that continued into closing quarters before declining in the final months. The lull in application activity, particularly in December, may augur a rough beginning for the industry in 2013. December’s depressed activity, during what is typically a high performing month (activity for the composite Index was up 0.3 percent), was exemplified by sluggish activity in the 60+ age group.

However, this year’s annual gain can be been interpreted as an indicator that we are slowly recovering, after activity bottomed out in 2008.

Application activity grew across all measured age groups in 2012. Ages 0-44 were up 1.0 percent; ages 45-59 were up 0.5 percent; and ages 60 and up were up 4.8 percent.

2012 was a year of shifting trends as there was slight growth in ages 0-44 in seven of the 12 months after years of steady decline; notable growth in ages 45-59 in five out of 12 months; and there was slowing growth in ages 60+. It should be noted that the slow growth in ages 60+ could be related to uncertainty around the estate tax exemption which was resolved in the closing days of the year.