U.S. life insurers ended 2020 with solid growth in the number of individual life insurance applications received.
MIB Group Inc. says overall U.S. individual life application activity was 3.7% higher in December 2020 than in December 2019.
That’s up from a 1.6% year-over-year increase between November 2019 and November 2020.
Application activity for all of 2020 was 4% higher than in 2019. That compares with an increase of 0.4% between 2018 and 2019.
The 4% increase for 2020 was the largest full-year increase MIB has recorded since 2011.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have hurt sales in several ways: by cutting some people’s income, interfering with financial professionals’ ability to hold face-to-face meetings with clients, limiting in-person medical underwriting efforts and pushing life insurers to impose new underwriting rules for older applicants.
But the pandemic also may have helped sales by increasing consumers’ awareness of the need for life insurance and by prompting life insurers to streamline applications and underwriting systems and procedures.
Life insurers formed MIB to serve as a vehicle to share data used to assess the riskiness of people who apply for life insurance and other forms of medically underwritten insurance.
The Braintree, Massachusetts-based nonprofit gets the life activity index figures by looking at the number of data requests flowing through its application-checking systems. MIB makes application activity summary data available to the public. More detailed data is made available to MIB member companies.