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Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Issue of Insurers: Consider the Conundrum

I was reading an LA Times article earlier this morning about insurers that failed to pay death benefits on accepted policies.
None of this surprises me because longtime a insider in insurance law tells us that these companies love collecting their premiums from you yet don't like paying out claim.
These tricks are certainly an issue of concern in the health insurance debacle.
Just wait until 2011.
Insurers Test Data Profiles to Identify Risky Clients
Life insurers are testing an intensely personal new use for the vast dossiers of data being amassed about Americans: predicting people's longevity.

Read more:
Insurers have long used blood and urine tests to assess people's health-a
costly process. Today, however, data-gathering companies have such extensive
files on most U.S. consumers-online shopping details, catalog purchases,
magazine subscriptions, leisure activities and information from
social-networking sites-that some insurers are exploring whether data can
reveal nearly as much about a person as a lab analysis of their bodily

*    Inside Deloitte's Life-Insurance Assessment Technology
Complete Coverage: What They Know

In one of the biggest tests, the U.S. arm of British insurer Aviva
<>  PLC
looked at 60,000 recent insurance applicants. It found that a new,
"predictive modeling" system, based partly on consumer-marketing data, was
"persuasive" in its ability to mimic traditional techniques.

The research heralds a remarkable expansion of the use of consumer-marketing
data, which is traditionally used for advertising purposes.

This data increasingly is gathered online, often with consumers only vaguely
aware that separate bits of information about them are being collected and
collated in ways that can be surprisingly revealing. The growing trade in
personal information is the subject of a Wall Street Journal investigation
into online privacy.

A key part of the Aviva test, run by Deloitte Consulting LLP, was estimating
a person's risk for illnesses such as high blood pressure and depression.
Deloitte's models assume that many diseases relate to lifestyle factors such
as exercise habits and fast-food diets.

This kind of analysis, proponents argue, could lower insurance costs and
eliminate an off-putting aspect of the insurance sale for some people.

"Requiring every customer to provide additional, and often unnecessary,
information" such as blood or urine samples, "simply makes the process less
efficient and less customer-friendly," says John Currier, chief actuary for
Aviva USA.

Other insurers exploring similar technology include American International
Group <>
Inc. and Prudential Financial
<>  Inc.,
executives for those firms confirm. Deloitte, a big backer of the concept,
has pitched it in recent months to numerous insurers.

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