Belth is the author of The Insurance Forum: A Memoir (2015), Life Insurance: A Consumer's Handbook (1973 and 1985), several other books, and many journal articles. He founded The Insurance Forum, an independent monthly periodical, and was its editor for its entire 40 years, from January 1974 through December 2013. Since 2013 he has been a blogger at www.josephmbelth.com.
For The Insurance Forum, Belth received a George Polk Award in 1990 in the "special publications" category. He received the 2017 John Newton Russell Memorial Award in recognition of a lifetime of professional excellence, service to the life insurance and financial planning industry, and commitment to ethical conduct. For one of his books, Participating Life Insurance Sold by Stock Companies, he received the 1966 Elizur Wright Award for outstanding original contribution to the literature of insurance. He received a 1999 Huebner Gold Medal for distinguished service to education and professionalism. He has received many other awards.
Belth holds degrees from Auburn (New York) Community College (now Cayuga Community College), Syracuse University, and the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn he was a fellow of the S. S. Huebner Foundation for Insurance Education. He was a life insurance agent in Syracuse for five years in the 1950s. He is a past president of the American Risk and Insurance Association, an organization of insurance professors and others interested in insurance education and research. He has been a member of the Indiana University faculty since 1962.
Belth was the subject of a page-one profile in The Wall Street Journal on January 5, 1978. He was also profiled in Barron's on June 8, 1981, and in The New York Times on April 17, 1990.