Life insurer John Hancock shifts to data-based interactive policies

In September 2018, the 156-year-old US life insurance company John Hancock announced it would stop underwriting traditional life insurance policies, instead selling only interactive policies that track health and fitness through the data collected by wearable devices and smartphones. Interactive life insurance had already become well-established in South Africa and Britain, and was spreading in the US. The company argued that the change would promote both health and profits; however, privacy and consumer advocates suggested the data might only help insurers cherry-pick the most profitable customers (for further context see this panel from Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection 2017 on YouTube, which discusses the future of insurance in a big data world).

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Writer: Suzanne Barlyn
Publication: Reuters