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More life insurers tracking policyholder habits with technology

Life Insurance and Annuities
by Jan DeClue
More life insurers tracking policyholder habits with technology
More life insurers tracking policyholder habits with technology

In recent years, many life insurance companies have been battling against a number of circumstances that made consumers a little hesitant to buy the (often necessary) coverage these firms offered. However, these difficulties have, in some ways, made life insurers more agile and open to new ideas, which has prompted many to start utilizing new ways to track and monitor the health and habits of policyholders. That, in turn, could lead to them finding more flexibility for those consumers, and perhaps even making these people happier with their coverage.

Many life insurers are now moving to utilize "Big Data" and leverage the devices people carry with them every day to both make life insurance appealing to people who have long eschewed it (for any number of reasons), according to a report from Life Health Pro. Indeed, this was the subject of a recent panel at an industry conference in New York City earlier this month, and it was generally agreed that while many companies are now taking on these data mining projects, it might be wise for more to get some skin in this particular game.

"Smart" wearable devices are gaining popularity, and could be valuable for life insurers."Smart" wearable devices are gaining popularity, and could be valuable for life insurers.

Why is that?
To this point, consumers have generally proven to be more than happy to turn over all kinds of data about themselves if it would help them save money on things like auto insurance, and to this point, those in the life industry have found this to be the case for their coverage as well, the report said. Data suggests that about 80 percent of people fall into the category of being willing to provide companies with vital data to get preferential treatment, and within the next four or five years, the average person will own seven devices that connect to the internet in some way.

What can be done?
The good news for life insurers is that there are plenty of ways in which they can start monitoring things that would be helpful in aggregating data about both individual policyholders, and the total population of them as well, the report said. Devices like Fitbits are gaining popularity and monitor the ways in which people exercise each day. The data those devices and others like them provide could, in turn, could be converted into useful information to help streamline pricing and other issues that life insurers may have struggled with in recent years.

The more that life insurance providers can do to make themselves adaptable to people's expectations, rather than the other way around, the better off both sides of the equation are likely to be. As long as new offerings can appeal to consumers and also potentially save life insurers money in the long run, there may be a reasonable middle ground to be reached and help boost policy numbers nationwide. That, in turn, will also give consumers greater peace of mind in terms of how they are covered by these policies going forward, for years to come.

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