While the big data vs. insurance rates battle is in its infancy, that does not mean that insurers don’t have plans. They do.
Some are already using data from consumers to affect rates. Some insurers say that the data that consumers give them could lower rates and SOME insurers say that the data won’t be used to raise rates. Since this is still in its infancy, don’t count on those statements for much.
Swiss Re, one of the biggest reinsurers (the insurance companies’ insurance company) just bought digi.me . Digi.me is currently allowing consumers to aggregate data in their system . That data will be shared with businesses to give consumers targeted ads and discounts. At least for now.
Discovery’s Vitality program collects diet, exercise and other information. Make the “right” choices and you might get a premium discount or cash back. Make the wrong choices and…
Allstate’s Drivewise gives drivers who install a gizmo in their car which sends driving data to Allstate discounts if you drive “appropriately”. That is only a short step from penalizing you if you drive like Mario Andretti.
They could also use people’s public social media posts to affect rates too. Have a salad for dinner and get discount points. Have a burger and beer and your rates go up.
Refuse to share data and maybe you can’t get insurance at any price.
There are very few laws in the United States that control what insurance companies can do with “public” data or even data that they buy from the likes of R.L. Polk (owned by IHS now), A.C. Nielsen and others, each of which have data on tens of millions of people.
Also remember that the Internet never forgets. Even if you improve your behavior, that data is still there in those databases. Articles that I wrote in the 1990s are available.
And with things like smart TVs and smart refrigerators, what you eat and what you watch might affect your ability to get insurance. Or your rates.
This is complete conjecture at this point but I sure wouldn’t rule it out.
Information for this post came from Reuters.