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Older Consumers Lead in Life Application Growth: MIB

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What You Need to Know

  • Application activity for consumers ages 30 and under continued to slide.
  • Activity levels for all older age groups increased.
  • Big and small policies seemed to be more popular than midsize policies.

Consumers ages 71 and older continued to return to the U.S. individual life insurance market, according to MIB Group Inc.’s new individual life application activity report.

Overall individual life application volume increased 0.5% between June 2020 and June 2021.

That was down from an overall increase of 1.9% in May.

For consumers ages 71 and up, year-over-year growth in the number of individual life applications filed was just 4.3%, down from 5.2% in May.

But the 71-and-up age group showed the strongest application activity performance for the third straight month.

Life Application Activity

MIB is a Braintree, Massachusetts-based consortium that provides underwriting services for member life insurers in the United States and Canada.

MIB does not publish public information about actual life insurance policy sales. It does publish data on trends in the number of applications for medically underwritten policies fed into its verification systems each month.

Age Trends

MIB provides detailed application activity reports for its members. The public report summaries are more general but do offer activity statistics broken down by age group.

Here are the age-group activity figures for June:

  • Ages 0-30: Down 3.3%
  • Ages 31-50: Up 1.1%
  • Ages 51-60: Up 0.8%
  • Ages 61-70: Up 3.6%
  • Ages 71 and Older: Up 4.3%

The strong performance of application activity could be due partly to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

People 71 and older use life insurance both in long-term care planning and in estate planning.

Some life insurers tightened sales and underwriting rules for older consumers early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to concerns about the effects of the pandemic on older Americans.

Many life insurers and agents reduced use of in-person meetings and shifted to web-based meetings and automated, web-based sales processes.

Life insurance sales and underwriting practices have started to get back to pre-pandemic  normal in recent months. The ups and downs in those practices may have created and released pent-up demand for life insurance in the 71-and-up age group.

Policy Size Trends

MIB did not provide detailed figures concerning the types of products that attracted higher levels of application activity in June, but it said activity levels for policies with death benefits under $250,000 and over $500,000 were higher than in June 2020. The application activity level for policies with death benefits from $250,000 to $500,000 was down.

(Image: Kostiantyn/Adobe Stock)