Last year, one of the biggest North American insurance companies made an interesting announcement. Starting in 2019, all their policies will now be Interactive Insurance policies. This means that policyholders will now be monitored by the company to determine how healthy they are.
At first, it sounds quite scary when we put it like this. However, we shouldn’t really be scared, at all. What’s happening is that the use of fitness tracking devices will be now mandatory for all new and existing John Hancock policyholders. The reason why? They want to promote healthier lifestyles and longer, more active lives amongst their customers. This decision is changing the traditional insurance business model, raising the question of whether other companies will follow or not.
We need to begin by talking about what interactive insurance is and how it works. John Hancock’s insurance partner, Vitality Group, has been implementing such a model since 2015. Insurance companies like these want to provide more benefits to their customers while they are alive, instead of waiting until the moment you pass.
With an interactive insurance policy, you will use a fitness tracking device, app, or website, and document your exercise routine, eating habits, etc. This way, the company will be able to reward you for achieving fitness goals with different incentives.
There are basically two major benefits of enrolling to this type of life insurance programs. The first, and more obvious, is that you will start leading a healthier lifestyle, engaging in more physical activity. Besides, your eating habits will improve too, as this is also logged into your fitness tracking platform. The more fitness goals you achieve, the more incentives you will receive.
The other type of benefit is being eligible for lower premiums and insurance discounts. Coupons and gift cards from many different partners will be available, too. You will be saving money AND leading a healthier life thanks to the new interactive insurance model.
Privacy advocates and policyholders worry about the amount of personal data insurance companies will be collecting through interactive insurance policies. Fitness tracking devices will indeed be able to collect, store, and analyze a huge amount of behavioral data from their customers.
However, the insurance industry is one of the most regulated ones. Insurance companies have always dealt with large data collections. They handle sensitive information regarding their customers’ finances, health, employment, etc. This is why they have several policies, standards, and protocols for information protection. Therefore, privacy advocates shouldn’t worry about the proper storage and use of data.