Privacy & Life Insurance Premiums: Would You Trade Your Personal Data for a Discount?

Anna Williams
Posted

Boost health. Manage stress. Score discounts?

That’s right: In the very near future, staying active might benefit more than just your body—it could also bank you big savings on your insurance.

Today, financial services giant John Hancock announced that it will soon cut costs on life insurance premiums—and offer other added perks—for those who can prove their healthy habits.

Of course, that means that the company will need to peek into your personal data.

To do so, the firm is partnering with Vitality, a global wellness program, to help policyholders set personal health goals, log activities, and track their fitness progress. Customers who opt into the program—the first of its kind in America—will also receive a free Fitbit to help them do so.

As policyholders complete health-boosting activities, whether it’s hitting the treadmill or scheduling a flu shut, they’ll snag so-called “Vitality Points.”

And as those points start to accumulate, participants will earn kickbacks in the form of entertainment rewards, hotel discounts or Amazon gift cards. Customers who rack up a significant stash of Vitality Points will even be able to save as much as 15% on their life insurance premiums.

“The latest advancements in wearable technology are encouraging people to take a more active role in their health, and it’s time we applied these innovations to … financially reward consumers for their positive actions,” Michael Doughty, the president of John Hancock, said in a press release.

Still, the program isn’t without its share of controversy. While most life insurance policies already take health and medical history into account during the underwriting process, some privacy advocates worry about the ramifications of this detailed, dynamic health tracking—and how that personal data might be used later on.

For now, John Hancock insists the program is safe for those interested in opting in. “You do not have to send us any data you are not comfortable with,” Doughty told The New York Times. “The trade-off is you won’t get points for that.”

Want to learn more about how your health can impact your life insurance? Find out the factors that might make your premiums more costly.