U.S. insurers may have received 0.3 percent more requests for individual life coverage this past December than in December 2015.

The Braintree, Massachusetts-based MIB Group Inc. says U.S. life insurers checked 0.3 percent more individually underwritten applications against its databases last month than they checked in the year-earlier month.

Related: Report: Unprecedented gains in 2015 U.S. life insurance activity

Overall application activity for the fourth quarter fell 1.2 percent, because application activity was weak in October and November.

Activity for the full year rose 1.3 percent.

Insurers created MIB in 1902, to give themselves a way to share information they could use to verify applications for coverage. The Federal Trade Commission reported in 1995 that it believed MIB was involved with the underwriting of 99 percent of life insurance policies and about 80 percent of disability insurance policies sold in the United States and Canada.

MIB breaks life application activity down by age.

Activity for consumers ages 0 to 44 increased 0.8 percent in December, when compared with December 2015, after being down for most of the rest of 2016.

Activity for consumers ages 45 to 59 fell 1.3 percent in December, year-over-year, and activity for consumers ages 60 and older rose 1.5 percent.

Lee Oliphant, MIB’s chief executive officer, said in a statement about the results that life insurers have been working hard to market to consumers under the age of 45.

Life insurers have been working hard to market to consumers under the age of 45. (Photo: iStock)Life insurers have been working hard to market to consumers under the age of 45. (Photo: iStock)

“Over the past years, we’ve seen the industry achieve solid growth in reaching younger-age applicants,” Oliphant said.

But life insurers face an uphill battle to increase sales to applicants under the age of 45, because most of the adults in that age group are members of the younger half of generation X, which started in 1965 and ended in 1980, or are members of the millennial generation, which started in 1981 and ended in 1997.

From 1973 through 1977, when consumers ages 40 to 44 were born, U.S. mothers were having only about 3 million babies per year. The number of babies born in the United States began to rise in 1978 and reached about 4 million in 1990, when the consumers who are now turning 27 were born. The number of U.S. babies born each year has hovered around 4 million ever since, suggesting that application activity among consumers ages 20 to 39 could now benefit from the growth in the number of U.S. people born starting around 1978.

Immigration could help increase the number of prime-age prospects.

Thanks to immigration, U.S. Census tables, show, for example, that the United States was home to a total of about 3.85 million consumers born in 1976 in 2014, not just 3 million.

The Census Bureau found 3.97 consumers born in 1977.

The prospect numbers increase for younger ages. Agents who choose to hone in solely on consumers born in 1990 will have 4.7 million targets for their marketing efforts.

Related:

MIB: Life activity drops

MIB: Life activity increases

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