In the not-too-distant future, John Q. Public might want to rethink swiping his credit card four times a week at McDonald’s or renewing that subscription to Skydiving Magazine if he wants a shot at a decent rate for a new life insurance policy.
Big Brother is creeping further into the life insurance business.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal revealed some U.S. life insurers are exploring whether collecting and analyzing consumer marketing data can be used to accurately predict people’s longevity. Could this be a first step toward a gradual phasing out of the costly traditional process of using blood and urine tests to assess people’s health?
It is no secret data-gathering companies are continually amassing extensive dossiers on most U.S. consumers by monitoring online shopping habits and information easily available on social-networking sites. Encouraged by companies such as Deloitte Consulting LLP, a number of U.S. insurers are seriously investigating whether this data can reveal as much about a person as a lab analysis of their bodily fluids.
The WSJ article reports that Deloitte conducted one of the biggest tests for Aviva, looking at 60,000 recent insurance applicants. The article said the test found “that a new, ‘predictive modeling’ system based partly on consumer marketing data was ‘persuasive’ in its ability to mimic traditional techniques.”
The article continues to say “a key part of the Aviva test was estimating a person’s risk for illnesses such as high blood pressure and depression. Deloitte’s models assume that many diseases relate to lifestyle factors such as exercise habits and fast-food diets.”
We know the P and C market analyzes peoples’ credit reports to help price home and auto policies, so it’s not too far out to think the extensive amount of consumer data available today could be helpful in understanding a person’s true lifestyle.