U.S. life insurance application activity declined in March with Year-over-Year (YOY) activity down -7.7%, when compared to record breaking activity in March of 2021, and finishing Q1 2022 at -5.6% year to date, according to the MIB Life Index. However, when taking a historical lookback, comparing Q1-2022 activity to Q1-2020 and Q1-2019, YTD growth was +3.9% and +5.8%, respectively. Additionally, despite historical seasonal trends where Q1 activity is generally down compared to Q4, when comparing Q1-2022 to Q4-2021, activity was up +2.6%.
Activity for ages 0-70 showed YOY declines in March, while ages 71+ saw flat activity. Q1-2022 saw similar patterns when compared to Q1-2021, with YTD activity declining for ages 0-70 and flat for ages 71+. It is interesting to note the fluctuating patterns in growth trends across age bands. Prior to the Pandemic in 2019 and 2018, growth in application activity increased as the age bands increased. The pandemic brought a shift in 2020 with ages 31-50 leading in growth and with growth declining as age bands increase. Trends in 2021 fluctuated and Q1-2022 is showing a return to pre-pandemic patterns with ages 71+ leading in growth. It is also noteworthy that March saw Month-over-Month (MOM) growth across all age groups over February, in double digits for ages 0-30.
March saw YOY declines across all face amounts, in double digits for face amounts over $2.5M. When comparing Q1-2022 to Q1-2021, face amounts over $5M saw growth while all other face amounts declined. When examining age bands for Q1-2022 compared to Q1-2021, ages 0-30 saw declines for face amounts up to and including $500K and amounts over $2.5M up to and including $5M, double-digit growth for face amounts over $5M, and flat activity for all other face amounts. Age 31-50 saw declines for face amounts up to and including $5M and flat activity for amounts over $5M. Ages 51-60 saw declines for face amounts up to and including $500K and amounts over $1M up to and including $5M, and growth for all other face amounts. Ages 61-70 saw declines across all face amounts, in double digits for face amounts over $250K up to and including $500K and amounts over $1M up to and including $2.5M. Ages 71+ saw flat activity for face amounts up to and including $500K, double-digit declines for amounts over $2.5M up to and including $5M, and growth for all other face amounts, in the double digits for amounts over $1M up to and including $2.5M.
All product types experienced YOY declines in March. Universal Life saw declines of -6.5%, Term Life of -8.1%, and Whole Life saw double-digit declines of -14.9%. Similarly, when comparing Q1-2022 to Q1-2021, all product types saw declines, in the double-digits for Whole Life. When breaking down results comparing Q1-2022 to Q1-2021 by age, all age bands experienced declining or flat activity across all product types. However, ages 61+ saw double-digit declines for Term Life and ages 0-50 saw double-digit declines for Whole Life.