Provided they are not discriminatory, life insurers can use customers’ posts to decide on pricing.
The New York Department of Financial Services (N.Y.F.S.) has released new life insurance premiums calculation guidelines. These will allow insurers to use data collected from their customers’ social media posts to help calculate premiums.
These regulations may soon move outside New York and into other states as well.
The life insurance premiums guidelines indicate that insurers have the right to obtain and apply data gleaned from “non-traditional” sources as well. That said, if they do use the data they collect from social media and other sources, they must be able to prove that they have not used it to unfairly discriminate against protected groups.
For instance, none of the data can be used in a way that a customer’s “race, color, creed, national origin, status as a victim of domestic violence, past lawful travel, or sexual orientation in any manner, or any other protected class,” would affect the premiums they pay.
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The goal is to help make the life insurance premiums calculation process simpler and more accurate.
The N.Y.F.S. has indicated that the goal of allowing life insurance companies to use this information is that it: “has the potential to benefit insurers and consumers alike by simplifying and expediting life insurance sales and underwriting processes. External data sources also have the potential to result in more accurate underwriting and pricing of life insurance.”
The idea behind using social media to calculate insurance premiums isn’t anything new, said a recent Forbes report. This topic has been debated for a number of years. That said, the amount of guidance available online regarding privacy rights for what is being posted and shared is very limited.
N.Y.F.S. chief Maria T. Vullo has been working hard to move forward in this process that many people feel is inevitable. To do this, she is using an 18-month investigation’s findings in order to build a foundation of regulations. This investigation looked into the practices of about 160 life insurance companies. By better understanding the way life insurance premiums are calculated in a practical sense, the initial rules are being established for guiding insurers regarding the use of new forms of data about their clients.