The MIB Life Index is a measure of application activity based on the volumes of individually underwritten life insurance policies.
"It has declined in every month of 2017 and was down -2.6% compared to July 2016 and [down] -1.7% compared to the previous month of June," said MIB Group, the company behind the index.
Year-to-date, the composite index is off by -3.1% and on course to remain noticeably lower than 2016 year-end values, which grew by 1.3%.
Age demographic breakdown
US life insurance application activity declined across all three age groups in July, continuing a distribution pattern “that has become distinctive this year”, MIB Group said.
Ages 0-44 were off slightly at -0.4%; while those aged 45-59 showed the sharpest declines at -5.7%; and people over the age of 60 were off more than usual at -4.5% compared to same month last year.
Year-to-date, application activity for the youngest age bracket are off -2.1%; while those aged 45-59 are down -5.5%; and 60+ are off -2.4%.
One bright spot in July’s numbers was the application activity in ages 0-44 (the largest age group in the Life Index) which, despite remaining negative, showed improvement since April.
Ages 45-59 remained the worst performer, and ages 60+ losses have deepened since April.
How the index works
The MIB Life Index is developed by the MIB Group, a membership corporation dating back to 1902 that is owned by approximately 430 member insurance companies in the US and Canada.
The index is based on the number of searches that member companies perform on its database.
“Since the vast majority of individually underwritten life premium dollars in North America include a MIB search as a routine underwriting requirement, the MIB Life Index provides a reasonable means to estimate new business activity,” MIB said.