MIB Life Index Methodology

The MIB Life Index measures application activity for individually underwritten life insurance, as approximated by inquiries to the MIB Code Service* performed by member company underwriters. Separate reports are published monthly for U.S. and Canadian application activity. Since the MIB Code Service* is used to underwrite the vast majority of individually underwritten life insurance in North America (estimated as high as 90 percent), the MIB Life Index provides a reasonable means by which to estimate new business activity.

Current Methodology

Starting with the January 2021 report (published in February 2021) and going forward, MIB changed the way we report trends in application activity, moving away from showing figures relative to a 2011 baseline index. Our current index reports on industry activity based on straight period over period percent changes (YTD, YOY, MOM and QOQ).

The Life Index starts with all inquiries into the MIB Code Service*, including all facultatively underwritten life reinsurance activity. All inquiries from disability income, critical illness and long-term care insurance are removed from the source data. Guaranteed issue and other non-underwritten individual and group life insurance are not reflected because MIB Code Service* is not used for those market segments. Percent changes are then calculated using the average number of MIB inquiries per day for a given period.

Reports Prior to January 2021

The MIB Life Index, as of the January 2021 report (published in February 2021), reflects straight period over period percent comparisons based on calendar days for both current and historical data. However, values in any historical reports archived on our website reflect the methodology in place at the time of publication. As such, the annual 2020 report, and all other reports published prior, include percent changes based on a time-set benchmark with percentages based on business days.

From January 2017 through year-end 2020 reports, the benchmark comparison (basis=100) for the MIB Life Index was January 2011. Prior to that, the benchmark comparison was January 2001.

*Formerly MIB Checking Service

VIDEO: 2021 MIB Life Index at the Half – Long-Term Trends

View our other MIB Life Index videos
View the 2020 MIB Life Index
Annual Report


For Annual Reports prior to 2020,
contact Betty-Jean Lane, Head of
Marketing, at blane@mib.com
Subscribe email delivery
Monthly Life Index Report

Explore Actuarial Services