Insurance applications advanced by 0.2% in 2011 compared with 2010, the MIB Group (formerly Medical Information Bureau) index reports. This is the index’s first rise in several years. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of applications submitted dipped by 1.2%. It also declined in the two previous comparison periods.
Life insurers ended 2011 on an upbeat note. They received 2.5% more applications in Q4 2011 than in the same quarter in 2010. This year is also beginning robustly, with 8.3% more life insurance applications in January than in the same month in 2011.
Lee Oliphant, president and CEO of MIB, notes that the MIB index stabilized in the last three years. Four or five years ago, the Index slid by 3%-4% annually. Now the trend is slightly positive, he says.
Mr. Oliphant hopes this trend is not sustained entirely by seniors. Applications are lower for people under 45. This is why it is so important for advisors to meet with the clientele face-to-face, he points out.
In its 2011 annual report, MIB attributes the stability of the index to the improvement in economic conditions. Strong sales in the age 60 and up group, and an upswing in sales in the age 45 to 59 segment play an important role in powering this index. Improved sales and marketing methods in the industry also help, the report says.
The distribution of data in the index shows that the 0 to 44 age group accounted for 54.2% of all individual life insurance applications in the United States. Insured ages 45 to 59 represented 29.1% of applications and those 60 and over 16.7%.