An Open Thread About Life Insurance

Photo credit: Br3nda (cropped), CC BY 2.0.

I was going to do an open thread about the federal government ruling that all credit freezes (and unfreezes) will be free, starting today, but then I checked Twitter and saw the life insurance thing, so here we go!

As Reuters reports:

John Hancock, one of the oldest and largest North American life insurers, will stop underwriting traditional life insurance and instead sell only interactive policies that track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones, the company said on Wednesday.

Participation in John Hancock’s wearable data Vitality program will not be mandatory (thank goodness), but if you elect to give John Hancock your wearable data and you’re a good little wearable wearer, you could earn gift cards for your healthy habits! If those healthy habits end up extending your life, well, that’s a win-win for both you and your life insurer — or at least that’s how John Hancock is framing the whole thing.

Reuters notes that other people have concerns:

Privacy and consumer advocates have raised questions about whether insurers may eventually use data to select the most profitable customers, while hiking rates for those who do not participate. The insurance industry has said that it is heavily regulated and must justify, in actuarial terms, its reasons for any rate increases or policy changes.

Plus, most of us have already figured out that we can put our wearables in the dryer, on the ceiling fan, or on the dog to rack up those steps.

So there’s your open thread topic for the day: life insurance, similar fitness programs your workplace has asked you to participate in, etc.

Or you can always discuss free credit freezes.

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