When you apply for life insurance, one of the resources your insurance company uses to evaluate your risk during the underwriting process is called the MIB.
Formerly known as the “Medical Information Bureau,” MIB Group, Inc. (or simply MIB) checks records to uncover “errors, omissions or misrepresentations made on insurance applications.”  The MIB is similar to a credit report and it helps the insurance companies mitigate risk by protecting against fraud.
What is the Medical Information Bureau?
The MIB was founded in 1902 and works with life insurance companies to combat fraud by compiling information from previous life, health, disability, and long-term care insurance applications.
Underwriters use the MIB to verify that what you’ve disclosed on your current application is consistent with previous applications so they can set your premiums accurately. The MIB report is mainly used to verify your medical history. Your rates aren’t based solely on the report.
Who makes up the MIB?
The MIB consists of virtually every life insurance company in the United States and Canada (more than 800 companies).  Every insurer that belongs to the MIB can see what other underwriters already know about applicants.
What information is in an MIB report?
An MIB report includes information about your life insurance applications over the last three to five years. Information found on an MIB report includes:
Date of any previous life insurance applications
Date of diagnosis or treatment for an illness
Known medical conditions
Types of treatment
Where the medical history came from
For example, if you had prostate cancer, underwent surgery, and previously applied for life insurance, your coded MIB records would show an underwriter that you had an operation, when it happened, and how that information was obtained — likely from an attending physician statement, or APS.
The underwriter then uses that in conjunction with other information — the medical exam that’s a standard part of the life insurance application process, additional physician statements, a prescription check — to make sure that everything matches up and the current application isn’t missing any pertinent pieces of your health history.
How the MIB protects your privacy
To protect your personal information, the MIB doesn’t keep your actual medical records on file. Instead, MIB information is coded and only includes “information that is significant to the underwriting process.” There are no personal identifiers that could be used in identity theft. 
Your information isn’t submitted to the underwriter without your permission, and even then your information is shared under the HIPAA guidelines. You have to sign a HIPAA waiver before the insurers can access your information and they can’t sell or share any of your personal information.
Checking your MIB Report
If you’ve previously bought or applied for insurance, you can request a copy of your MIB report online or by phone.
When you order a copy of your MIB Consumer File, it can include:
Medical and personal information requested, along with which insurance company requested it and when
The name of any insurance company that made an inquiry or received a copy of your file
Information in the MIB’s Disability Insurance Record System (“DIRS”) for anyone who has applied for disability income insurance
Because the MIB falls under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have all of the rights available under the FCRA, including free copies of your MIB Consumer File.
Disputing your MIB Consumer File
FCRA protections also allow you to dispute your file if you feel anything is misrepresented. You can request a free reinvestigation from the MIB noting anything that you think is inaccurate or incomplete. This can take up to 45 days to complete. 
Why life insurance companies use the MIB
Checking your application against MIB records helps your insurer combat fraud. Insurers set your rates based on how risky you are to insure — how likely you are to die during your coverage period.
That’s why they pull documents like motor vehicle reports and health records and ask if you engage in any risky hobbies.
An MIB check ensures the insurance company isn’t giving lower rates to someone who, for example, used to smoke, but omitted that information from a current application.
Properly evaluating someone helps keep costs in check, which benefits an insurer and its customers.
While independent life insurance brokers like Policygenius don’t have direct access to your MIB file, we can advocate for you and work with multiple insurance companies to make sure you get the best rates possible when you apply for life insurance.
What is Human API?
If you’d like to get coverage as soon as possible, some insurance companies use Human API to speed up the underwriting process.
Human API can significantly speed up a life insurance application decision by pulling all of your medical records electronically, letting you skip the medical exam.
That said, only a handful of life insurance companies use Human API to underwrite applicants — and your doctors also have to use the platform for it to work.
What if my insurer or medical provider doesn’t use Human API?
Even if you’re unable to use Human API to fast-track your life insurance application, you can still get quick coverage.
Instant decision life insurance policies like the Brighthouse SimplySelect policy don’t require a medical exam and, similarly to Human API, pull your records while you’re on the phone applying (with your consent).
Some applications require further investigation, but if your application is approved, your life insurance coverage can go in force almost immediately after your phone call.
If you’re not eligible for an instant decision life insurance policy, you also have the option of getting a no-medical-exam life insurance policy. The application uses your previous records to evaluate your health, but doesn’t do so instantly.
No-medical-exam policies tend to take the same time as traditional life insurance policies to retrieve and analyze your previous records, so you’ll still have to wait to get coverage.
To make sure your loved ones are financially protected in the interim, you can get temporary coverage.