By Sara Brown
It was only a matter of time and now that time has arrived: John Hancock is the first in the industry to apply a usage-based insurance model to life insurance.
The new program, called Vitality, “celebrates life,” “instead of being about what happens at the end,” according to the company’s promotional video. What on earth does that mean in the context of life insurance? It means that by agreeing to hand over (even more) personal data to John Hancock, you may be able to reduce your premiums. Plus, you get a free Fitbit.
Are you starting to get the picture? John Hancock wants to monitor your activity levels, sleep habits, eating habits and heart rate— all day, every day— in order to better predict when they will have to pay your death benefits.
Is it possible I’m the only one who has a problem with this? I get Fitbit. I understand why someone (not me personally, but a lot of people I know) would want to track these things for their own personal use. But is the promise of “entertainment, shopping, and travel rewards and discounts” enough to persuade me to give up all that information just so my insurance company can earn another year’s interest on my premiums? No way!
And what about you Fitbit? Who else do you intend to sell my personal information to? I knew what you were up to all along.
What’s next, insurance industry? Will you increase my copay for medical services if I miss a workout?
Unsurprisingly, the privacy advocates are crying foul. Only time will tell whether people are likely to take John Hancock up on its offer. I can’t wait to hear how pleased everyone is with their new lower premiums— and learn about what kind of UBI 2.0 might come from this.