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Life insurance on the rise as 2017 closed, but issues remain

Life Insurance and Annuities
by Lisa Jiang
Life insurance on the rise as 2017 closes, but issues remain
Life insurance on the rise as 2017 closes, but issues remain

The life insurance industry has seen its share of ups and downs in recent months but is mostly trending in the right direction, and has been for some time. That was certainly the case over the final two months of last year, as life insurance sales in both November and December ticked upward.

That sudden uptick as 2017 came to a close reversed a trend that had been observed for most of the 2017 calendar year, but application activity jumped 1.2 percent on an annual basis in November, and 1 percent in December, according to the latest MIB Life Index. Moreover, the decline in applications activity seen from November to December - which is usually significant because of the holiday season - was far more muted than usual, likewise indicating a number of positives.

Young families making their first home purchases may be considering life insurance.Young families making their first home purchases may be considering life insurance.

Young people getting involved
Despite some of the trends in the industry, applications for people under the age of 44 were up for both the third and fourth quarters of the year, rising 0.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, the report said. In fact, application activity among this demographic ticked up each of the final five months of the year and were significant drivers of the overall increases in activity in both November and December. Across the entire year, people under 44 made up 55.2 percent of all life insurance applicants.

It's possible that this increase in activity comes as more young adults are able to make home purchases for the first time in their lives. This is often a big motivator of life insurance activity, according to DoughRoller. Generally speaking, young people who may not have sizable household budgets - especially after making what will be one of the biggest transactions of their lives - will likely be able to afford term life insurance even if other policies are out of their price range. However, it's vital for them to consider a number of factors related to their finances before making any hard and fast decisions about coverage.

Other issues to consider
Meanwhile, the rising interest in send-away online DNA tests could present a hurdle for young people seeking life insurance as well, according to San Francisco television station KPIX. Some life insurers may require that applicants who have taken a DNA test to turn over that information as part of the medical screening process, in which case some data could be used to increase their premiums based on certain risk factors in their genetics.

"Consumers need to think carefully about whether they want to take these tests," California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told the station. "It will not impact their health insurance under current law, but it could impact their life insurance."

Generally speaking, it is advisable for consumers to carefully consider their life insurance options when making such a decision, especially if they're doing so for what may be the first time in their lives. With a little guidance from a life insurer or agent, most people will be able to find a choice that works well for them.

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