Anyone who thinks insurers won’t soon be using consumer purchasing data and other minable information to make decisions about coverage is living in a dream world. It’s a no-brainer that the data gathered through supermarket loyalty cards, for example, will eventually be used to set health insurance premiums. Everything you buy and do that is trackable can and will be used against you.
Why is this a matter of government against the people? Because the insurance industry is a major shareholder in the corporation known as the United States of America. Also, because information that can predict if you’re a threat to an insurance company’s profitability might also one day be used to predict if you’re a threat to the state.
For years, insurance companies have been dying to get their hands on data about consumers’ purchasing and online behavior. The Wall Street Journal reports that life insurance companies are now making their move:
Life insurers are testing an intensely personal new use for the vast dossiers of data being amassed about Americans: predicting people’s longevity.
Insurers have long used blood and urine tests to assess people’s health—a costly process. Today, however, data-gathering companies have such extensive files on most U.S. consumers—online shopping details, catalog purchases, magazine subscriptions, leisure activities and information from social-networking sites—that some insurers are exploring whether data can reveal nearly as much about a person as a lab analysis of their bodily fluids.
In one of the biggest tests, the U.S. arm of British insurer Aviva PLC looked at 60,000 recent insurance applicants. It found that a new, “predictive modeling” system, based partly on consumer-marketing data, was “persuasive” in its ability to mimic traditional techniques.
Read the rest of the article at The Wall Street Journal.