Application activity for individually underwritten life insurance dipped 0.6 percent between 2013 and 2014, but year-over-year activity in the fourth quarter was up 2.6 percent, according to new research.
MIB Group Inc. unveils these results in the latest release of its MIB Life Index. The monthly benchmark of U.S. application activity is based on the number of searches MIB life member company underwriters perform on the MIB Checking Service database.
The report shows that first quarter declines of -5.4 percent (Q1 2014 vs. Q1 2013) moderated over the second and third quarter, with the fourth quarter showing the most significant growth at +2.6 percent (Q4 2014 vs. Q4 2013). November and December 2014 showed the sharpest increases: up +5.2 percent and +2.6 percent, respectively.
November’s activity was unusually strong, up +10.6 percent compared to October; December’s activity declined -8.3 percent as compared to November, the largest decrease on record for this time period.
“The improvement in U.S. application activity in the last three quarters of 2014 was encouraging,” says MIB Life Index CEO Lee Oliphant. “I don’t know if three quarters makes a trend, but we’re heartened by the direction of [U.S. application activity].
“I believe the industry is making inroads in reaching the vast underserved middle market,” he adds. “Barring a shock to the economy, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll continue to see industry growth.”
Oliphant attributes the recent uptick in U.S. in policy issues to growing success among carriers in marketing and selling to the millennials and gen X generations; and to the adoption of technologies — self-service web portals, streamlined underwriting, mobile-friendly software, among other solutions — that enable insurers to more efficiently serve clients and prospects.