Now, there’s a movement in the insurance industry to leverage new forms of surveillance to assess risk during the underwriting process of life insurance policies (the process of assessing a potential customer’s risk).
The cutting edge of the insurance industry involves adjusting premiums and policies based on new forms of surveillance.
There’s not enough oversight for apps that track everything from people’s fitness routines to their menstrual cycles, bioethicists say.
Insurers are using customers’ social-media posts to determine premiums, inviting the potential for our digital lives to become disingenuous performances.
It’s a new day not very far in the future. You wake up; your wristwatch has recorded how long you’ve slept, and monitored your heartbeat and breathing. You drive to work; car sensors track your speed and braking. You pick up some breakfast on your way, paying electronically; the transaction and the calorie content of your meal are recorded.
Customers can withhold their fitness data, but that will result in higher premiums, which may put life insurance out of reach for low-income earners. This in turn could have an impact on whether would-be homeowners can take out mortgages, some of which can require a life insurance policy on the principle borrower.
A company using what seems like a fun smartphone game to get you to walk more might be a slippery slope. With access to all that data, what will a big corporation ultimately do with it? This is still new, so the implications are murky.
Insurers are today capable of and are, in fact, gathering ever-more-detailed information about us, using publicly available and purchasable information like shopping records, household details, and social-media profiles to inform decisions.
Congress may have forced Mark Zuckerberg to reveal more about personal data gathered on Facebook (FB). But consider this: Your insurance company likely knows a lot more about you.
Richard Keating investigates how big data and new technologies are changing the face of the insurance industry, and examines the resulting threats and opportunities.