Life insurance is not necessarily something we think about much, at least when compared to things like health and car insurance. Most of us are plenty aware of it and its benefits, but it's likely not something we really focus on until a certain point in our lives.
At a base level, it is meant to help provide for your loved ones if and when you pass away. The value and cost of policies vary, but the general point is the same throughout.
Along with cost and benefits, what it takes to be covered differs from provider to provider. But going forward, one big-time provider is willing to offer you substantial discounts, provided you are willing to let them track you.
John Hancock is offering a couple of different plans with fitness-related discounts. It is an extension of their "Vitality" program, which was introduced in 2015 as a way to encourage its members to live a healthier lifestyle.
As part of the plan, people will receive gift cards and other rewards for reaching certain fitness goals. It's not a bad incentive for charting your fitness progress, which will be done through an app or online.
However, if you are willing, there is another step you can take, one that will lead to even greater discounts but a little less privacy. All you have to do is wear a fitness tracker and make sure the data it records gets to the insurer.
Fun Fact: How popular are fitness trackers? According to Forbes, worldwide wearable sales will grow by an average of 20 percent each year for the next five years with an expected 243 million unit sales by 2022.
Who does this benefit?
If you have no problem with the insurance company knowing more about your fitness habits, then the chance to save some money on premiums and in other areas is not necessarily a bad deal. Besides, paying more attention to fitness is actually a good thing.
For John Hancock, it makes sense that they would want healthier customers. They only have to pay out when a policyholder passes away, yet receive money from them until that happens.
So, the longer their customers live, the more monthly premiums will be collected. Once you die not only do they need to pay out the policy, but they will also no longer receive any money from you.
Indeed, while on the surface this may seem like a company trying to encourage its customers to be healthier, it is more of a way to keep the profits coming.
But also, the data
Everyone loves receiving a discount, and there are plenty of worse ways to get one than living a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, this would be just one more in a growing list of companies that are doing something to track us, which should at the very least give most people pause.
Data breaches are more common these days than we'd like. With as much information as insurance companies have on us, they are already attractive targets, and this would just give them even more to store and possibly lose.
Furthermore, the information John Hancock learns could then be used as a way to try and market other products. So while it may start as a way to save money at the expense of a little fitness tracking, there is a bit of rabbit hole this idea may eventually travel down.
Finally, there's always the chance none of this will work out the way John Hancock hopes, as there is a possibility of people hacking, cheating or otherwise gaming the system as well as other inaccuracies eventually taking place.
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