November 9, 2021
U.S. life insurance application activity was flat in October 2021 compared to October 2020 with Year-over-Year (YOY) activity down slightly at -1.5%. While YOY comparisons are impacted by fluctuations in 2020 activity due to COVID, when comparing October 2021 results to 2019, activity continues to be relatively flat at +1.0%. On a Year-to-Date (YTD) basis, the industry remains at growth with October 2021 up +4.4% over October 2020 and up +8.3% over 2019.
Activity for ages 71+ was at growth YOY, while all other age bands were flat or declined. Activity for ages 0-30 was down -1.6%, ages 31-50 down -0.5%, ages 51-60 down -3.2%, ages 61-70 down -5.1% and for ages 71+ up by +4.8%. Age band patterns have been an interesting trend to watch due to fluctuations during 2020 driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, which affect the YOY comparisons. When comparing age band activity in October 2021 to pre-pandemic levels in October 2019, we see growth across ages 0-50 while ages 51+ show declining activity.
Activity YOY for face amounts of $250K up to and including $500K declined, while amounts over $5M grew in the double digits. Growth for all other face amounts was relatively flat YOY. When examining age bands, YOY activity for ages 0-30 was flat for amounts up to $250K, at growth for amounts over $500K up to and including $2.5M, and declined for all other face amounts. Worthy of noting, YOY activity for ages 0-30 declined in the double digits for amounts over $5M. Ages 31-50 saw YOY growth for amounts up to and including $250K and double-digit growth for amounts over $5M, with declines or flat activity in all other face amounts. Ages 51-60 saw double-digit growth in YOY activity for face amounts over $5M and declines or flat activity in other categories. Ages 61-70 saw YOY declines for face amounts up to and including $250K, double-digit declines for amounts over $250K up to and including $2.5M and double-digit growth for face amounts over $2.5M. Ages 71+ saw YOY growth for amounts up to and including $250K and amounts over $500K up to and including $1M with significant double digit growth (over 25%) for amounts over $2.5M and declines in all other categories.
October 2021 saw growth in Whole Life application activity YOY of +7.1% while Term Life and Universal Life declined by -5.8% and -7.7% respectively. Activity for Term Life and Universal Life declined for all age groups, in the double digits for ages 61+ for Term Life and for ages 51+ for Universal life. Whole Life saw growth across all age bands, in the double digits for ages 0-50.
Methodology Change for 2021:
MIB has changed the way we report trends in application activity. Effective with our January report, variations with industry activity reflect a straight period over period percent changes (YTD, YOY, MOM, and QOQ) based on calendar days vs. the prior methodology based on a 2011 baseline index on a business day calculation.