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U.S. Life Insurance Activity up in 2012

MIB Life Index Reports U.S. Life Insurance Activity up 1.4% in 2012

Index cautiously turns the corner

BRAINTREE, Mass., Jan. 25, 2013, Strength in the first half of the year was sustained in the closing quarters of 2012 driving the MIB Life Index up +1.4% YTD as compared to last year, all ages combined. After bottoming out in 2008, this year’s annual gain in U.S. individual life insurance application activity represents the culmination of a slow, but steady recovery. Year-to-date growth was shared by all age groups, but waning end-of-year activity, particularly in December, could be cause for concern heading into 2013.

“We are very encouraged by the overall positive growth, however we remain cautiously optimistic as growth early in 2012 predominated this year’s results,” said Lee Oliphant , MIB Group’s Chief Executive Officer. Flat December activity for the composite Index, up only +0.3% year-over-year, was further evidenced by sluggish activity in ages 60+ (a key Index driver) up only +1.5% in what is normally a high-performing, double-digit month. Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc with many insurers’ operations and agent activity in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. late October, which may account for the tame fourth quarter.

Life insurance application activity grew across all three age groups in 2012 with ages 0-44, up +1.0%; ages 45-59, up +0.5%; and ages 60+, up +4.8% YTD as compared with last year. December’s activity was mixed and diminished overall with ages 0-44 up +0.5%; ages 45-59 off -0.6%; and ages 60+,up +1.5%, year-over-year. A retrospective six-quarter analysis (Q4, 2012 – Q3, 2011) shows application activity climbing in Q3 2011 to a peak at the end of Q1 2012 and then waning over the remaining quarters. The most notable trend shifts for 2012: modest growth in ages 0-44 (positive 7 of 12 month) after literally years of decline; nascent strength in ages 45-59 (positive 5 of 12 months); and slowing momentum ages 60+ (evidenced by 2-3% YTD declines in growth from 2009 to 2012). Modest Q4 performance in 2012 for ages 60+ may be related to uncertainty in the estate tax exemption which was settled in the closing days of December.

“This is the first time we’ve seen positive numbers in the ages 44 and below market, but it’s far too early to understand if these trends will endure. This 1% gain on the year may signal ground gained on the industry’s marketing challenges, but again we remain cautious,” says Oliphant.

Review all the 2012 industry trends in detail by registering for MIB’s 2012 Life Index Annual Report (free) at www.mibsolutions.com/regLI or login at www.mibsolutions.com/loginLI.

Monthly Percent Change

Dec. 2012


Nov. 2012


Q4 – 2012


YTD 2012


Monthly Percent Change by Age


Dec. ’12

Nov. ’12

Oct. ’12

2012 YTD

0 – 44





45- 59





60 +






U.S. Monthly Percent Change
vs. Prior Month

Dec. 2012


About the MIB Life Index
The MIB Life Index is the life insurance industry’s timeliest measure of application activity in the United States. Released to the media each month, the Index is based on the number of searches MIB life member company underwriters perform on the MIB Checking Service database. Since the vast majority of individually underwritten life premium dollars in North America include an MIB search as a routine underwriting requirement, the MIB Life Index provides a reasonable means to estimate new business activity. For past releases, methodology or to subscribe visit www.mib.com/lifeindex.

About MIB
MIB is the life and health insurance industry’s most trusted resource for risk information and analytical services. Owned by the industry it has served for more than a century, MIB is uniquely positioned to aggregate industry insights in order to develop products and services for our members that improve their risk assessment. MIB, Inc. and MIB Solutions, Inc. are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the MIB Group, Inc. (www.mib.com and www.mibsolutions.com).

David O. Aronson
MIB Group, Inc.

SOURCE: MIB Group, Inc.

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Forecasted 2013 American Housing Recovery

PCA: All 50 States Expected to Experience Housing Recovery in 2013

2013 Housing Starts Approach the One Million Mark

SKOKIE, Ill., Jan. 18, 2013, Since 2005, tepid economic growth and high foreclosure rates have depressed home prices, bloating inventories and preventing start activity. In 2013, economists are revising nearly a decade of pessimism and forecasting growth throughout the residential construction industry.

A new report from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) projects total housing starts to reach 954,000 units in 2013, reflecting further improvement on 2012’s nearly 30 percent growth.

“The possibility of one million starts in 2013 should not be dismissed,” PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan said. “Although the first half 2013 will be mired in a fiscal cliff hangover, we are decidedly optimistic about second half economic growth, job creation and consumer sentiment – all of which translate into a stronger home sales and starts activity.”

Even stronger growth in homebuilding is predicted to materialize in 2014 with starts surpassing 1.1 million.

In another optimistic turn from previous residential forecasts, PCA expects the recovery to be broad-based and is projecting all 50 states will see increases in single family housing this year. Already underway in the interior U.S., the emergence of accelerating construction growth has begun to appear in some of the hardest hit states during the housing bubble burst. These regions are now likely to lead growth in coming years as the long depressed markets begin to return to housing construction rates consistent with their demographics.

“As the recovery unfolds, regions that once lagged recovery now begin to emerge as growth leaders. The Southwest and Southeast, for example, still have the weakest housing fundamentals on a relative basis to the Interior U.S, but on a construction activity basis, given the extremely depressed bases from which these regions are recovering from, they will likely be the housing growth leaders in coming years,” Sullivan said.

PCA expects multifamily construction to continue to grow at a strong pace as favorable fundamentals fuel the sector. Multifamily starts recorded a 55 percent gain in 2011 and 36 percent growth in 2012. PCA expects an additional growth of 15 percent in 2013 to 277,000 units. Damaged credit due to foreclosure activity and tight mortgage lending standards have combined to create robust apartment demand.

About PCA
The Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs. More information on PCA programs is available at www.cement.org.

To obtain a copy of PCA’s analysis of the housing sector, contact Patti Flesher at pflesher@cement.org.

SOURCE: Portland Cement Association


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Residential Real Estate Contractor Mistakes

Contractor Mistakes

NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2013, Your Contractor Did What?! 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Home Renovations Aren’t a Disaster


According to the experts on RealtyPin.com, the right home renovations can make or break the time you spend in your home. They can also make or break the time it takes to sell your home. However, you can’t end up with the right finished product unless you hire the right contractor. That means you’ve got to avoid these major mistakes:

Grading the 2012 Housing Market

1. Picking a contractor based on price
Yes, I know you want to save some money, but the last thing you should want is for your home to look like a corner-cutting haven. It’s one thing to get a good deal. However, a contractor that offers prices that are too good to be true usually does so for a reason – and it’s not a good one. Think about it – if your contractor is offering you a price that’s far less than what everyone else is offering, why? How is he going to make up the difference? By using lower-quality materials? Doing the work faster and, thus, upping the chances of making sloppy mistakes?

Renovation advice: The Top 4 Things Experience Can Teach You in a Home Renovation

2. Not checking to see if your contractor is insured
Most homeowners assume that because their contractor “looks” professional, he must be insured. Boy, is that a risky game! If your contractor isn’t insured and something goes wrong (like if one of the employees gets injured while working on your project), you could be liable for it. Do you want to risk being sued because you didn’t think to ask if your contractor was insured before the work began? I didn’t think so!

Renovation tips: Why “Invisible Renovations” Aren’t Good Enough

3. Not getting a written contract
A good contractor will put everything in writing – including a detailed description of your entire project, approximate completion dates, a payment schedule, and even a list of materials (especially if it’s high-end stuff). That way, there will be no confusion along the way and no risk for anyone going back on their word.

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4. Making the final payment before the work is finished
No matter how great your contractor seems, never ever hand over the last check before the work is finished – including all of the clean-up. After all, if everything has been paid for, what incentive does your contractor have to finish the job?! In fact, when you and your contractor are drawing up your contract, make sure to specify that the final payment will not be made until everything is complete and your home is completely back to normal. That means that all inspections have been passed, all dumpsters have been removed, and everything else has been cleaned up and your home is ready to show off to the world. Otherwise, your project may never end!

Looking for a new home for sale? Visit Realtypin.com

Media Contact: James Paffrath , RealtyPin.com, 1-(866) 960-8649, james@realtypin.com

SOURCE: RealtyPin.com