U.S. insurers collect data from cars, mouths, grocery carts in profit search
Twice a day, Scott Ozawa’s Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush tells his dental insurer if he brushed for a full two minutes. In return, the 41-year-old software engineer gets free brush heads and the employer which bought his insurance gets premium discounts.
The scheme, devised by Beam Technologies Inc, is just one of the latest uses of technology by insurers hungry for more real-time information on their customers that they say lets them assess risk more accurately and set rates accordingly.
In theory, everybody wins, as policyholders adopt better habits and insurance companies save money on claims.
However, there are concerns that insurers will eventually use the data they get to cherry-pick the best and most profitable customers, while hiking rates or even denying coverage to people who choose not to participate.
“It’s not expected today, but in the near future it will be used to penalize people,” said Mitchell Wein at Novarica Inc, who advises clients on insurance technology, as reported by Reuters.
Insurers are still in the data collection stage, said Wein, but he predicts that in about five years, tracking tools will have a direct impact on pricing and coverage on a range of policies.
Read the full story at Reuters: RPT-US insurers get inside cars, mouths, grocery carts in profit search | Reuters