Little did I realize when I recently posted about a client that I was on the bleeding edge of a potential revolution in life insurance underwriting. But that seems to be the case, as "new research by Timetric [shows that] three key technological developments have had a substantial impact on life insurance underwriting: automation, social media and big data."

[ed: gotta love "Big Data." Brent Spiner must be jealous]

Two items caught my eye:

First, that social media seems to be playing a larger role in detecting insurance fraud (we tend to see this more in the disability and workers comp fields, of course). But it strikes me as a little creepy that underwriters access FaceBook, Twitter and the like as part of their process. On the one hand, this makes sense: you checked "non-smoker," but there you are, tagged at a party, with a joint or a Marlboro. On the other hand, it seems to me that this comes awfully close to cyber-stalking. One supposes that the message is to be careful regarding your on-line presence.

The second is the idea of "Big Data." As we've seen from the recent NSA scandal(s), the idea that you have any real data privacy is quaint. Unlike Facebook posts, though, there's little you can do to control what's in your "file." And of course, to the extent that the privacy notice you signed allows, most of that info is legally accessible by the folks who are, after all, potentially on the hook for major dollars.

Brave new world, indeed.
 
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