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Life Insurance Application Volume Continues to Grow

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What You Need to Know

  • Application activity rose for all age groups.
  • Interest in universal life and whole life was strong.
  • The gap between Policygenius index term life premiums for younger nonsmokers and older smokers inched higher.

Moves by people ages 71 and older to buy universal life insurance helped fill the U.S. individual life insurance application pipeline in April.

Individual life application volume climbed  11.7% between April 2020 and April 2021, according to MIB Group Inc.’s new individual life application activity report.

In March, application activity was up 18.5%.

MIB is a Braintree, Massachusetts-based organization that helps insurers in the United States and Canada share some of the information used in life insurance underwriting. It gets its application statistics by seeing how many applications member life insurers have fed through its systems.

Application volume is closely related to policy sales but somewhat different from policy sales. In some cases, life insurers may turn applicants down. In other cases, consumers may decline to pay for the coverage offered.

Older Applicants Return

MIB provides detailed data for members and summary data for the general public. In the summaries, The firm breaks life application activity data down by five age groups. The oldest age group is for consumers ages 71 and older.

From November 2020 through February, application activity for consumers ages 71 and older fell every month.

One reason may have been the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on insurers’ sales processes. Many insurers shifted to selling coverage through the telephone and the internet, and away from selling through face-to-face meetings.

Another reason may have been moves by some insurers to tighten underwriting rules in response to the pandemic.

Those obstacles now seem to have eased: Application activity for consumers ages 71 and older grew more than activity for any other age group that MIB tracks.

Here are the age-group activity figures for April:

  • Ages 0-30: Up 15.4%
  • Ages 31-50: Up 6.1%
  • Ages 51-60: Up 10.4%
  • Ages 61-70: Up 15.0%
  • Ages 71 and Older: Up 20.4%

For consumers ages 71 and older, application activity for universal life was especially strong, MIB says.

For most age groups, application activity for term life held steady, or rose or fell by less than 3.5%. For all age groups, activity for whole life and universal life increased by 10% or more.

Policygenius Price Index

Policygenius, a New York-based insurance web broker, uses term life price data from the insurers that sell through its site to create monthly term life price index reports.

The lowest price in the tables, for a 25-year-old female nonsmoker seeking $250,000 in coverage, is $14.23 per month — down 2 cents per month from the lowest rate given in the tables in early April.

The highest price in the tables, for a 55-year-old male smoker seeking $1 million in coverage, is $1,043.16 per month, or 2 cents more than in April.

The ratio between the highest premium in the tables and the lowest held steady at 73.2.

(Image: Bram Janssens/Thinkstock)