Advertiser Disclosure

MIB Group: What It Knows About You and Your Health

January 24, 2017
Insurance, Life Insurance
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

If you want to know about companies that traffic in data about you, you’ll want to know about MIB Group. Its data could affect certain insurance applications.

MIB is a group of about 430 insurance company members that sell life, health, disability income, critical illness and long-term care insurance policies. If you’ve applied for one of these policies in the past several years, it’s likely that MIB Group is storing your application information for fraud-detection purposes. Any MIB member company can access that data.

Here’s how it works

  1. You apply for certain individual insurance policies with an MIB member company.
  2. The insurer notifies you that it intends to report your information to MIB and that MIB may report this information later to another member insurer if you apply for insurance again.
  3. The insurer provides an authorization form for you to sign that allows MIB and the insurers to share your information.
  4. Insurers forward the information to MIB in the form of codes. For example, a certain code will represent “alcohol abuse.” MIB created these proprietary and confidential codes to be used exclusively for these reports. Coding the information is a measure that protects your health records.
  5. Later, if you apply for insurance with another member company, the new insurer can request your report from MIB.
  6. The insurer compares the MIB report with your application to make sure they’re consistent.
  7. If your MIB report conflicts with the application, the insurer will likely have some additional questions for you. It can’t reject you based only on inconsistencies between your application and MIB report.

MIB’s information codes

Your MIB report can include codes for:

  • Medical conditions
  • Hazardous hobbies, which typically includes things like skydiving or auto racing
  • Black marks on your driving record

These factors help insurers determine how risky you’ll be to insure. By providing this information, MIB says, it helps insurers become better able to detect fraud in applications and keep premiums low for everyone.

The Federal Trade Commission considers MIB a consumer reporting agency, which means it must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Under the act, MIB member insurers must notify you if your MIB report played any part in its decision to deny you a policy or charge a higher rate. If that happens, you have 30 days from that notice to get your MIB report free of charge to make sure all the information in it is correct.

Information MIB doesn’t have

Not every insurer is a member of MIB. And here’s information MIB doesn’t collect:

  • Auto and home insurance application data
  • Anything you disclosed to an insurer that isn’t an MIB member
  • Data from group-based insurance policies, such as life and health insurance you buy through an employer
  • Data from applications for a plan under the Affordable Care Act
  • Information from applications made more than seven years ago, in most cases
  • Whether your insurance applications were accepted or declined
  • Information from applications made by people in good health who were approved by the insurer

How to get your MIB report

If you want to apply for insurance, you can get your MIB report beforehand to verify it’s correct. You can request your report in two ways:

  • Online at MIB’s website.
  • By calling 1-866-692-6901 Monday through Friday, between 6 a.m. and midnight Eastern.

Although MIB says only 1% to 2% of reports provided to consumers are changed due to inaccurate or incomplete information, it’s a good idea to check for errors. When you get your report, it will have been decoded — no need to cross-reference codes with conditions. If you have no record, MIB will send you a “no record” letter instead of a report.

You can get one free MIB report per year, and if you’re denied insurance partly due to MIB data, you can get another free report. You can request a report only on yourself, a dependent child or someone who has granted you power of attorney.

Lacie Glover is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: lacie@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LacieWrites.