September 13, 2021
U.S. life insurance application activity returned to growth in August 2021 compared to August 2020 with Year-over-Year (YOY) activity up +5.5%. While YOY comparisons are impacted by fluctuations in 2020 activity due to COVID, when comparing results to 2019, August 2021 is up +9.5%. The industry remains at growth on a YTD basis with 2021 up +5.3% over 2020 through August of each year.
All age groups experienced YOY growth in activity for August, except age 0-30 where growth was relatively flat. YOY Growth for ages 0-30 was +0.6%, ages 31-50 +8.5%, ages 51-60 +6.0%, ages 61-70 +3.0% and age 71+ +9.0%.
It is interesting to note the recent shift in growth across age bands. As of the onset of COVID-19 in March of 2020 through March of 2021, the 31-50 band has had the lead in growth YOY. However, trends began to shift in April of 2021 with the 71+ age band taking the lead in growth. As of August, trends appear to be again shifting and the 31-50 and 71+ age bands are now closely matched for growth.
As noted previously, YOY comparisons to 2020 are impacted by by fluctuations related to COVID-19. When comparing age band activity in August 2021 to August 2019, we see growth across all age bands, in double digits for ages 31-50, but a slight decline of just more than -2% for ages 71+.
Face amounts up to $250K and over $500K showed YOY growth in August, with face amounts over $250K up to and including $500K at a slight decline (less than -2%). Growth for face amounts over $1M was in the double digits, with amounts over $5M growing over 47%. This represents a return to patterns seen between February and June where face amounts over $5M have consistently been at double-digit growth YOY.
Ages 0-30 saw YOY growth with face amounts over $500K, in the double digits for face amounts over $1M. Ages 31-50 saw YOY declines for face amounts over $250K but less than $500K and growth for all other face amounts, in the double digits for amounts over $1M. Age 51-60 saw relatively flat YOY activity for face amounts over $250K up to and including $500K and for amounts over $1M up to and including $2.5M, while all other face amounts saw growth, in the double digits for face amounts over $2.5M. Ages 61-70 saw YOY growth for face amounts up to and including $250K, and double-digit growth for amounts over $500K. Ages 71+ saw YOY growth across all face amounts, in the double digits for amounts over $500K up to and including $5M.
Continuing a trend that started in April, August 2021 saw declines in Term Life application activity YOY of -2.1%. Universal Life was at growth of +13.8% and Whole Life grew by 9.0%. Activity for Term Life was flat for ages 31-60 but at a decline for all other age bands. Universal Life saw growth for ages 0-60, in the double digits for ages 31-50, declines for ages 61-70 and flat activity for those ages 71+. Whole life saw growth across all age bands, in the double digits for ages 31-70.
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.
Contact: Betty-Jean Lane, MIB Group, Inc., (781) 980-0017, BLane@mib.com