How much personal information are you willing to share to save a buck?
Would you let your life insurance company digitally monitor your every move?
For many consumers across the globe, the answer has been a hearty, “Absolutely!” And now, reports The New York Times, the opportunity is coming to the States.
Healthy Living Helps You Save Money
Only 44% of U.S. households have life insurance coverage, and providers are looking for ways to get more people on board. Inspired by the effects of wellness programs in places like Europe, Australia, South Africa and Singapore, John Hancock is poised to become the first U.S. life insurance company to provide a similar program.
Here’s how it works: Your insurance provider gives you a free Fitbit, which tracks your daily activities and sends the information directly to your insurer. They’ll know when you work out and for how long. They’ll know if you go golfing or engage in another physical activity. You can also opt to share additional data like your cholesterol levels, the dates of your physical exams and whether you’ve gotten your flu shot. For each of these activities, you earn points which add up to various rewards.
In exchange for letting your life insurance provider track your health information, you can receive up to 15% off your policy premium, in addition to other perks like Amazon gift cards and 50% off your stay at Hyatt hotels.
The Pros of Letting Your Insurance Company Monitor Your Activity
For those who already live a healthy lifestyle, a wellness program like this could be a great way to knock down your life insurance costs by doing the things you’re already doing.
If you’re looking to become healthier, it could be the motivation you need to stick to your goals.
It’s also a great way to get life insurance procrastinators to finally buy the coverage they ought to have — while life insurance can feel like an abstract thing you’ll need “one day,” the instant gratification of watching points add up now makes it feel more immediately rewarding.
The Cons of Trying This Wellness Program
Of course, the biggest con here is the concern about privacy; if the idea of some large corporation tracking your every move is a turnoff, wellness programs like this may not be for you. John Hancock president Michael Doughty assures policyholders, “You do not have to send us any information you’re not comfortable with,” but admits that “the trade-off is you won’t get points for that.”
There’s also the fact that sometimes factors outside your control make it hard to pursue healthy behavior. If you break a leg or fall ill, for instance, you risk losing your discount when you can no longer continue working out like you used to.
That said, it’s an intriguing idea, and we’re curious to see how (or if) it takes off in the U.S.
Your Turn: What do you think? Would you be willing to let your insurance provider monitor your health habits if it meant savings for you?
Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.