Fitness trackers are set to become one of the gadgets of Christmas 2015. For those of you who are delighted with this gift, hopefully it’ll inspire you to greater health and fitness – but, have you considered what other impacts it could potentially have, especially on your finances?
The insurers industry has been looking at the development of this technology for a number of years, and whilst the jury is out on how they might adopt it, it’s certainly an issue that they are taking notice of. Like many technological advances, the development of fitness trackers and smart watches are a potential technological disruption, which could bring new initiatives forward in the world of health care, life assurance and income protection.
Currently, there are too many uncontrollable variables which would give insurance companies cause for concern. Key amongst these would be the inability to confirm that the actual wearer is also the actual insured, as well as certain inconsistencies in terms of data provided. However, in a market driven by the US healthcare and increasing insurance-based options worldwide (95% of Chinese and are covered by insurance-based health care), there is certainly an attraction to an insurer of being able to track and monitor healthcare risks and to obtain real, current and personalised data on clients.
So what about the customer – is there a demand for this? A 2013 survey carried out by confused.com, showed that 64.4% of respondents thought that they should pay less if they could genuinely evidence that they were not smokers, 44% thought they should pay less for their protection if they could demonstrate that they regularly exercised and 43% also thought that evidence of healthy eating should contribute to lower cost premiums.
Indeed, not only does research show that there is an interest (where there is a financial benefit), but also there are already some products on the market which do reward a healthier lifestyle. First and foremost of these is the Prudential Vitality brand, which incentivises its customers with various health and lifestyle bonuses, such as discounts on gym memberships.
So, next time you strap on your fitness tracker not only will you be keeping track of your vital statistics, you might also be contributing to cheaper health insurance! If making sure that you and your family are adequately protected, is one of your New Year’s resolutions, then Ethical Futures would be delighted to help guide you through what is becoming an increasingly complex market.
Read about some data protection issues in relation to fitness trackers here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/17/fitness-trackers-wearables-insurance-employees-jobs-health-data
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