MlB Explained: Everything You Need to Know About Your Life Insurance File

medical information bureau

If you’ve applied for life insurance, you may have heard about the Medical Information Bureau (MIB).

However, you may also not know the MIB’s role in the life insurance application.

So we clear it up here, with all the FACTS!

Who Makes up the Medical Information Bureau?

The Medical Information Bureau is a member-owned non-profit corporation that has existed since 1902.

The members are the leading life insurance companies in North America.

The MIB has been a leader in providing insurance companies with risk assessment and fraud detection services for over 100 years.

The life insurance statistics show that 99% of individual life insurance policies issued in the U.S. come from MIB member companies.

How Does the MIB Work?

The MIB operates an information exchange on behalf of its members.

Life insurance companies want to know as much about you as possible before they give you coverage.

Information such as:

The info is used to create an underwriting file for the company to review.

When you apply for life insurance, you will sign a disclosure/authorization form (Pre-Notice).

If a paramed exam is required, the examiner will have you sign the authorization form again.

This authorization 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? Life insurers decline your application if you refuse to sign the authorization form.

It’s part of the application for all companies that medically underwrite applications, including for no-exam life insurance.

The MIB does not receive your medical records.

Member companies use a proprietary coding system 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 trying to hide significant medical conditions.

Companies report codes for tobacco use, including cigars, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, marijuana, pipe tobacco, etc.

It’s essential to indicate your tobacco use on the application.

What Kind of Information is on My MIB Report?

To have an MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File (the official name of the file), you would have applied for individual term life insurance, universal or whole life, within the past seven years.

If you are converting a life insurance policy, the MIB is not checked unless you want to increase coverage or add life riders requiring additional underwriting.

Life insurers provide codes to the MIB to protect information. Companies may then translate those codes 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 before application.”

With the above information from your medical records, the new life insurance company would want to see a copy of that electrocardiogram.

If it’s been over seven years since you applied, or you have a group, accidental death, or guaranteed issue policy, there may not be a file on you.

Examples of the information reported to the MIB include:

The MIB will inevitably be providing additional information to member companies in the future as accelerated underwriting programs and no exam life insurance increase.

When you or your spouse apply for life insurance, the application will ask if you are replacing coverage, if you’ve applied to other companies, and what that outcome was.

You want to disclose application activity as the MIB file will tell life insurers you have applied elsewhere.

Even if you applied through niche programs like Costo Life or AICPA term life as the insurance companies behind these programs are MIB members.

What Does Your MIB Report Disclose?

When you request a copy of your Medical Information Bureau report, they will send you a letter outlining the MIB’s disclosure practices.

Here’s what the MIB discloses to companies requesting your file:

  • The name of any MIB member company that:
    • Received a copy of your file in the past three years.
    • Made an inquiry about your file in the past two years.
    • Received a copy of the records that other companies received in the past two years.

As companies increase their use of accelerated underwriting and eliminate paramed exams, your MIB file is more important than ever.

Insurance companies will have access to your MIB file after you complete your application, giving life insurers the chance to revisit their underwriting approval of your file.

Recent Articles:

How Can I Get a Copy of My MIB Report?

It’s straightforward to get a report for yourself.

Getting a copy of your MIB report is free, and you can do so by following this link.

You can request a free MIB report every 12 months.

Your MIB report will include:

  1. Any medical and personal information the MIB has on file for you.
  2. Names of all insurance companies reporting info to the MIB
  3. The name of any life insurer who received your report in the past three years
  4. Inquiries made by life insurance companies within the past two 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 infrequent for errors on an MIB report, but it occasionally happens.

I’ve heard of 2-3 reports having errors over 24+ years and thousands of files.

Whenever there was a problem, it was due to the insured’s physician’s office making mistakes.

Examples include:

  1. Putting another patient’s medical test results in your file
  2. Checking the box that you smoke when you don’t

If this happens during underwriting, we can usually help you to get it corrected with your physician first. We then update it with underwriting, resubmitting information to MIB to correct.

Sometimes, the insurance company you applied for makes a mistake by providing incorrect information to MIB.

If that happens to you, you must return to the insurance company and start there to get corrections taken care of.

If it’s been a few years since you applied and you just discovered the problem, MIB has a formal process to correct mistakes.

Does Having an 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 already have a file.

What matters is what your MIB file contains, if anything.

Remember that the primary source of information used in underwriting comes from:

  1. Your answers to your application
  2. Medical records from physicians
  3. Lab results if a paramed exam is required

Life insurers use the MIB to see if you previously applied for life insurance and make their underwriting decisions.


You have questions about the MIB, and we have the answers.

Final Words

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!

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