Many are predicting that wearables could provide the industry with some considerable shakeups.
Although the term wearable technology was virtually unrecognized in the mainstream public only a year or two ago, it has now reached the point that it is making regular insurance news headlines because it looks as though it will become popular enough to give the industry quite a shakeup.
There are many different kinds of wearables – from smartwatches to smartglasses – that are becoming commonplace.
Not too long ago, these devices were seen as something that would be exclusive to science fiction, but they are now readily available at electronics stores and online marketplaces. They include smartwatches, fitness bands, smartglasses, and even smart clothing. Now, they are finding their way into insurance news more frequently as people start to guess at the impact that their innovations will have on the industry in terms of both advantages and increased risks.
The insurance news comes into play with the amount of data that these devices collect and the way they are used.
Wearable technology devices can be used to collect a range of different forms of data, including the wearer’s activity levels, exercise habits, eating behaviors, driving tendencies, and even audio and video. They allow the data to be communicated over smartphones and computers and can even be transmitted to third parties. Those third parties could include insurance companies.
Among the most popular forms of wearables at this early phase in their existence, include fitness bands which are worn on the wrist to track exercise and certain basic health metrics, as well as smartwatches that function as an extension of the smartphone, and headsets for gaming and other types of entertainment.
The latest figures from The Wearable Future from PwC have indicated that 20 percent of American adults already own some form of wearable device. The report also suggested that this figure is expected to rise very quickly. This is particularly true among the Millennial generation, where it is already predicted that over half will purchase fitness bands by the end of 2016. Another 23 to 40 percent said that they would be buying other types of wearable devices.
Being able to measure activity levels, driving behaviors, and health metrics has caused insurance news reports to ring with new predictions with regards to how risks can be measured for more accurate premiums calculations, among other potential changes to the industry.