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Life insurance applications among younger generations down, not so for older Americans

Life Insurance and Annuities
by Chris Davis
More life insurers tracking policyholder habits with technology
More life insurers tracking policyholder habits with technology

The life insurance industry has been struggling to generate new policies in the last several years thanks to the massive economic downturn of nearly a decade ago, the slow recovery and overall changing financial habits among many Americans. That trend certainly continued last year, even as one often key demographic came back to the market in force.

The overall number of applications for new life insurance policies across the country slipped 0.6 percent last year from its level in 2013, even as consumers 60 and older increased their interest in obtaining such plans, according to the latest data from the MIB Life Index. This older generation actually jumped 2.8 percent on an annual basis, and now sits at the highest level seen since the middle of 2007. That followed a 1.2 percent drop in 2013 and may signal a growing trend among older Americans who are trying to plan for their golden years.

David Aronson, director of marketing and communications for MIB Group, noted that these older consumers have typically been key to the life insurance industry, so their return to buying new policies is a welcome sign, the report said. These people tend to be more affluent and farther along in planning their estates overall.

Other age groups didn't fare so well
Meanwhile, though, it should be noted that younger generations tended to be far less interested in applying for policies, the report said. The total number of people under the age of 44 who sought coverage was down 1.5 percent, while those for people between 45 and 59 slid 0.8 percent.

However, much of those issues seem to have been the result of some holdover that carried into 2014 from the previous year, the report said. Most of the issue seems to stem from the fact that January 2014 saw a drop-off of 7.9 percent among all age groups. In total, 2013 was a rather dismal year for the industry, and the latter half of 2014 saw a significant rebound, which may signal good news down the road for the industry as well.

The more those in the life insurance industry can do to position their offerings as being attractive, particularly for younger generations, the better off they're likely to be going forward. Millennials in particular are often seen as being key to the sector's future success overall.

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