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The MIB Group: Who Are They?

Jason Metz

The MIB Group is a not-for-profit organization of about 430 North American insurance companies that sell life, health, critical illness, disability income and long-term care insurance policies.

The MIB Group stores codes in consumer files based on reports from life insurance and health insurance applications. The codes are used to help the insurance company members detect errors, omissions, misrepresentations and potential fraud on insurance applications. Only members of the MIB Group can access its data.

What does MIB mean?

MIB originally stood for “Medical Information Bureau.” The group was established in 1902 and its headquarters are in Braintree, Massachusetts.

What type of life insurance records does the MIB Group store?

The MIB Group stores records based on information from individual life insurance applications. The data includes items such as medical conditions, dangerous hobbies and bad driving records.

The MIB Group does not keep medical records, such as lab test results, physician statements, X-rays or reasons for denial of insurance.

Do I have a MIB consumer file?

If you applied for individual life insurance, health insurance, critical illness, disability income or long-term care in the past seven years, you might have a MIB Group consumer file. There’s a file only if the insurance company you applied to is a MIB member.

You may not have a MIB consumer file if you were in good health at the time of your application and there were no other red flags.

How long does the MIB keep records?

The MIB keeps records for seven years.

The MIB Group cannot store your records without your knowledge and consent. When a member wants to search the MIB’s database or report information to the MIB, the member needs to send a MIB Pre-Notice form to you. By signing this form, you authorize member companies to exchange information within the MIB Group. The consent is often included as small print on an insurance application.

Does having a MIB consumer file mean I can’t get life insurance?

You can get life insurance if you have a MIB consumer file. Having a file is not bad. The MIB codes do not provide enough information for an insurance company to make a decision to deny or approve an application, or to set rates.

However, an insurance company may ask you for more information based on a MIB consumer file. For example, if information you provided conflicts with MIB data, an insurer will likely ask more questions.

How does the MIB Group help save money?

Life insurance companies price their policies based on factors such as age, health, occupation and lifestyle. Generally, the younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your life insurance quotes will be.

The MIB Group states that by detecting an error, omission, misrepresentation or potential fraud in an insurance application, the insurance company can accurately price (or deny) an applicant’s policy, which can help lower costs for others who are buying insurance.

For example, if someone omitted a history of substance abuse on a life insurance application, a member of the MIB Group could double-check that against past applications.

How do I contact the MIB?

The MIB Group can be reached at 1-866-692-6901.

You can also go online to request a copy of your MIB consumer file. There is no charge to request the file (if one exists) and you can request it once per year.