Wearable technology data to aid premium calculations

Technology could come to the aid of health insurers who regularly monitor their customers and set their premiums. Wearable technology which is in the process of being designed, can provide the necessary data to insurers which can give them a regular picture of the health of their customers, says an article on Theactuary.com.

wearable technology

Image courtesy: Freeimages.com/Alex Bramwell

The wearable technology will have sensors and keeps records like the number of steps or how much exercise the user has taken, sleep patterns, stress levels, blood pressure, sun exposure and even food intake. This data can provide a clearer picture in making premium calculations.

A physically active customer can be rewarded with reduced premiums and those with patterns of unhealthy lifestyle can be used for increasing premiums.

“What if employers and health insurance companies move in the direction that the car insurance industry has taken, where every health transgression – a boozy night out, a Christmas feast, or too many lazy days on the sofa – could increase your health premium rates? Such a scenario isn’t so far away, and this should concern us,” said Emmanuel Tsekleves, senior lecturer in design interactions at Lancaster University.

The technology is still in its early data and being researched. The wearable technology should also be made tamper proof like shaking the device to be get the readings right. Some resourceful users also attach their devices to dogs and other pets apart from other fitter people. Tsekleves feels that it will just be a matter of time before these loopholes are closed.

Insurers however will not use such data only to decide on their premiums. “A few companies already offer reduced premiums on the basis of healthy lifestyle habits such as gym membership and it’s possible wearables will have a part to play here too, but any widespread use is quite a long way off,” said a spokesperson of Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Read the full story here.

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