MIB Life Index FAQs

What is the MIB Life Index?

The MIB Life Index provides a monthly snapshot of the underwriting activity for the U.S. life insurance industry. It is based upon the number of searches member company underwriters perform on the MIB Checking Service database (MIB Checks), a highly standardized, ubiquitous measure. Given that MIB member companies underwrite over 95% of the premium dollars of all individually underwritten life insurance policies issued in the U.S., the Index is an extremely robust measure. Released to the media in the second week of every month, the MIB Life Index is the life insurance industry's timeliest measure of underwriting activity.

How do I read or interpret an Index?

An index is a tool that simplifies the measurement of movements in a numerical series. The MIB Life Index uses January 2011 as a base reference where the Index is equal to 100. All Life Index references use this baseline benchmark. For example, an index of 110 denotes a 10-percent increase in volume from the reference period; similarly an index of 90 means a 10-percent decline in activity. Movements of the index from one date to another can be expressed as changes in index points (simply, the difference between index levels), but it is more meaningful to express fluctuations in percent changes.

What data is measured by the MIB Life Index?

The MIB Life Index press release reports on individually underwritten life insurance application activity in the U.S. and is additionally broken down into three age demographics: 0-44, 45-59, 60+ age groups. Year-over-year, quarterly, and year-to-date percent changes are measured.

What is MIB Life Index enhanced content?

This 'registration only' website gives users a more powerful set of analytic tools for the MIB Life Index yielding greater insights into U.S. life insurance application activity; dynamic charts for trend analysis are featured. Additionally, the Life Index Annual Reports are presented on this site each January and archived for historical reference by analysts. New metrics are introduced as they are developed.

How accurately does the MIB Life Index characterize the marketplace?

As an indicator of industry trends, the Life Index tracks very close to other insurance associations' survey data of placed policies on the books. However, the Life Index measures policy application volumes, which inherently lead issued business by approximately three months.

How is the MIB Life Index used?

The MIB Life Index is used by insurance companies, financial and industry analysts as a leading indicator of life insurance application activity. An MIB Check is generally performed at the earliest point in the underwriting process making this measure an early indicator of what is in the new business pipeline. While it is recognized that policy application and policy issue are two different variables, there is an established correlation, which makes the Life Index a useful relative activity measure and a reasonable means to estimate new business activity.

What companies are included in the MIB Life Index?

The Life Index uses application inquiries from approximately 400 MIB member companies writing life insurance policies in the U.S.

Does the Life Index only measure life insurance activity?

The Life Index is comprised of all activity against the MIB Checking Service that is specifically marked for life insurance applications. This includes life activity from direct writers and facultative business from reinsurers as well as a small percentage of unmarked database checks of which are assumed to represent life insurance activity.

When is it available?

The MIB Life Index is publicly available by the end of the second week of every month.

Who creates it?

MIB Solutions' Actuarial and Statistical Group. Producing statistical analytics is their core competency leveraging decades of experience accumulated from compiling industry studies for MIB member companies and clients like the Society of Actuaries.

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