If you’ve applied for life insurance, you may have heard about the Medical Information Bureau (MIB), but have no idea what role the MIB plays in the life insurance application process.
We clear it up here, with all the FACTS!
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Who Makes up the Medical Information Bureau?
The Medical Information Bureau is a member-owned non-profit corporation that has been around since 1902.
The members are the leading life insurance companies in North America.
The MIB has been a leader at providing insurance companies with risk assessment and fraud detection services for over 100 years.
How Does the MIB Work?
The MIB operates an information exchange on behalf of its members.
When you apply for life insurance, you will sign a disclosure/authorization form (Pre-Notice) that allows the insurance company to obtain and disclose your information to the Medical Information Bureau.
What happens if you don’t sign the authorization form? Your application is declined.
It’s part of the application for all companies that medically underwrite applications.
Your actual medical records are not sent to the MIB.
There is a proprietary coding system used by member companies to report underwriting issues.
For example, if you had a heart attack, the insurance company you applied to would provide MIB with a code to indicate that. If you applied to another company, that company would see the code indicating the health issue.
This system protects life insurance companies from individuals who might try to hide significant medical conditions.
What Information is Included in MIB Reports?
In order to have a MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File (the official name of the file), you would have applied for individual life insurance within the past 7 years.
Life insurers provide codes to the MIB to protect information. Those codes may then be translated into medical information.
How specific are MIB codes?
A code reported to the MIB would tell another life insurer that you had:
“Electrocardiogram. Premature contractions. Ventricular. Current or within the first year prior to application.”
With the above information, the new life insurance company would want to see a copy of that electrocardiogram.
If it’s been longer than 7 years since you applied, or you have a group policy or guaranteed issue policy, there may not be a file on you.
Examples of the information reported to the MIB include:
As accelerated underwriting continues to gain acceptance, it’s expected that the MIB will be providing additional information to member companies in the future.
When you apply for life insurance, the application will ask you if you’ve applied to other companies and what that outcome was.
You want to make sure you disclose application activity as the MIB file will tell life insurers that you have applied elsewhere.
How to Get a Copy of Your MIB Report
It’s actually very easy to get a report for yourself.
There is no charge to get a copy of your MIB report, and you can do so by following this link.
Your MIB report will include:
- Any medical and personal information the MIB has on file for you.
- Names of all insurance companies reporting info to the MIB
- The name of any life insurer who received your report in the past 3 years
- Inquiries made by life insurance companies within the past 2 years
You’ll receive a hard copy of your report in the mail within a few weeks.
What Should You Do if Your MIB Report is Wrong?
It’s very rare for there to be errors on a MIB report, but it does occasionally happen.
I’ve personally heard of 2-3 reports having errors over the course of 24+ years and thousands of files.
Whenever there was a problem, it was due to the insured’s physician’s office making mistakes.
Things like putting another patient’s medical test results in your file, checking the box that you smoke when you don’t, etc.
If this happens during underwriting, we can usually help you to get it corrected with your physician first. We then correct it with underwriting who in turn resubmits information to MIB to correct.
If it’s been a few years since you applied and you just discovered the problem, MIB has a formal process to correct mistakes as well.
Does Having a MIB File Affect Underwriting Negatively?
No, the fact that the MIB has a file on you does not negatively affect your underwriting.
Many insureds apply to multiple life insurance companies so they may have a file already.
What matters is what your MIB file contains, if anything.
Keep in mind that the main source of information used in underwriting comes from your answers on your application, your medical records from physicians, and your lab results if a paramed exam is required.
Life insurers use the above to make their underwriting decision and use the MIB to ensure that nothing was missed if you previously applied.
So what does all of this mean for you?
If you’re in the market for life insurance, the MIB is just a normal part of the application process.
It’s not there to hurt or help your application, it is simply a tool used by life insurers to protect themselves from people who try to mislead life insurance companies.
Get a life insurance quote now and see how much you can save with RiskQuoter!