As leaves fall, growth continues (AP Photos/Martin Meissner)

U.S. application activity for individually underwritten life insurance was up 1.5 percent in September, year-over-year, all ages combined. The accelerated pace of activity is particularly encouraging since it took place in two fewer business days than in September 2011.

MIB Group, Inc., Briantree, Mass., published the finding in its MIB Life Index, a measure of life insurance application activity in the U.S. Released monthly, the Index is based on the number of searches MIB life member company underwriters perform on the MIB Checking Service database.

The traditional summer lull seems to be over with September activity up 8.9 percent from that of August; a more robust than usual jump as the year winds down. However, the reverberations of the summer lull are still being felt with third quarter results down 0.8 percent compared with 2011. There have been, notably, positive numbers in six of the last nine months, rendering the Index up 1.7 percent year-to-date.

U.S. application activity expanded in two out of three of the measured age groups: ages 0-44 was up 2.1 percent; ages 45-59 was down 0.4 percent while ages 60 and up was up 2.8 percent.

At the end of the third quarter, ages 0-44 are up 1.0 percent year-to-date (YTD); ages 45-59 are up 0.7 percent YTD and ages 60 and up are up 5.4 percent YTD.

It is notable that growth in the 0-44 market was exceptional with the last positive growth in that age group for this period going back to 2003.