Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Life Insurance Snapshot

Hard to believe, but it's been almost 7 years since we blogged about Progressive Insurance's (then) new "Snapshot" program, a "high-tech monitoring device [which] makes it possible to reduce insurance premiums for drivers who avoid jackrabbit starts and slam-on-the-brakes stops...The catch? Bad drivers who take a chance on the program may wind up paying a surcharge instead."

Insureds merely "snap" (get it?) the widget into their cars, and their speed, distance, etc are then uploaded to the carrier, and rates adjusted accordingly.

Now, what would you say to applying that tech (or something very much like it) to humans?

Well, thanks to FoIB Holly R, we learn that John Hancock is proposing to do just that:

"Once you sign up, John Hancock sends you a Fitbit monitor as one way to track your fitness. You earn Vitality Points for your activities. As you accumulate points ... the more you save each year on your life insurance premiums." [emphasis in original]

And those savings could be substantial: up to 15% off your premium. The downside, of course, is that if one starts to slip, premiums creep back up (maxing out at the original rate).

Of course, privacy advocates aren't necessarily thrilled by this, and I have to admit that it's got a whiff of Big Brother going on. But - and this is key - it's completely voluntary, so I'm not really too put out by it.

Another objection is that "the plan will raise insurance costs for lower-income people juggling two jobs who don't have as much time to get to the gym." Which is, of course, a valid point, but it's exactly backward: their costs don't necessarily go up because someone else's goes down; it's not a static value.

It'll be interesting to see how many folks take advantage of the program, and how it ultimately pans out.
blog comments powered by Disqus