Your Fitbit data could soon get you a life insurance discount. One of the biggest insurance companies in the U.S. is making interactive health data from personal devices like Fitbit and Apple Watch part of all its insurance plans, according to Reuters.
As part of John Hancockâ€™s interactive life insurance policies, customers are rewarded for tracking their behavior, getting discounts on premiums, gift cards, and various other perks if they log workouts and record their health food purchases with the help of wearable devices and apps. Customers arenâ€™t forced to log their data, but the perks are designed to incentivize people to do so. The idea is that customers are more motivated to stay healthy, theoretically reducing the number of life insurance payouts the company has to make.
John Hancock started offering its interactive life insuranceâ€”known as the Vitality programâ€”in 2015, but now itâ€™s making it available as part of all of its plans. Vitality Plus customers can get discounted or free Fitbits and Apple Watches, earn Amazon gift cards, and get a free annual subscription to the mindfulness app Headspace, among other benefits.
John Hancock Insurance CEO Brooks Tingle told Reuters that based on the data the program has gathered so far, its Vitality policyholders are estimated to live 13 to 21 years longer than the rest of its insured customers.
Similar programs are popular in the UK, and have already been implemented in the U.S. by health insurers like UnitedHealthcare. But not everyone is a fan. Privacy advocates argue that these policies could be intrusive and pose a security risk, since wearables can be hacked. As these programs become standard, consumers will essentially have to pay extra to keep their personal fitness data private from their insurance company. People who are willing to tell their insurance company about their literal every move will pay lower premiums than those who are reticent to strap on a fitness tracker. Not to mention the fact that consumer fitness trackers like Fitbit aren’t always known for having the most reliable data.
We haven’t quite reached that dystopian insurance future, though, and right now, the idea of getting a gift card just for hitting 10,000 steps a day still feels pretty exciting.