Will you let your life insurer track your fitness?

You know how everyone loves judgmental personal trainers? Or how everybody is always looking for ways to share more of their personal health information with their life insurance provider?

…Sure ya do!

Well the good news is that some life insurance companies are initiating programs that will allow their clients to share their fitness data directly with their insurer using their personal fitness tracking device. Fun!

Sarcasm aside, you may be surprised to learn that many people are really open to this idea! 38% of those surveyed to be exact.1

A recent LIMRA study1 identified five groups who were most receptive:

  1. Heavy users of frequent-shopper card programs
  2. Those who identified themselves as being “very knowledgeable” about finance
  3. Those who already own a fitness tracker
  4. Those who trust life insurance companies
  5. Millennials (shocker, right?)

Interestingly, about a third of interested respondents said one of the perks that would motivate them to participate would be the personalized fitness feedback they would receive from their life insurer. Many respondents felt that participating in one of these programs would motivate them to be healthier.1

This didn’t surprise Jennifer Douglas, the author of the study. “This is a great example of behavioral economics! Many of us realize we need to be held accountable to behave the way we know we should because it’s just too easy to put off good behavior! So having external forces to motivate us is very effective and we know this about ourselves.”

This motivation to improve our health also benefits insurance companies because it gives them an opportunity to offer more value to their clients in the form of personal fitness feedback, help with establishing wellness goals and advice for making healthier choices. Perhaps that extra value will convince potential clients to stop procrastinating.

“Many of us know we should get life insurance but we keep putting it off,” says Douglas. “This is because when it comes to life insurance the reward is very far out and it’s not even really for us. But the potential perks provided by these fitness tracking programs are tangible and immediate.”

In addition to valuing the potential health benefits, a third of Millennials also hoped that participating in these types of programs would help them establish a long-term relationship with their life insurer.2

Wait what? These Millennials want to be in regular contact with their insurance company? Don’t they have any friends?

It’s certainly a stark contrast from what commonly occurs now. Many clients rarely interact with their life insurance company after purchasing their policy. So what’s going on here?

“Members of older generations might be more inclined towards purely transaction relationships. They want to make a purchase and then be left alone,” Jennifer says with a laugh.

“But Millennials are more comfortable with these types of programs because they’ve grown up in a consumer-centric world. They expect to be engaged. The life insurers that are offering these activity tracking programs have found a great way to build that relationship.”

Although engagement and relationship-building are lovely sentiments, you may not be surprised to learn that the top two reasons respondents said they may be interested in tracking programs were both financial incentives. The potential to save money on premiums (68%) and the ability to receive greater coverage for the same price (45%) topped the survey results.1

And before you start thinking you’re a weirdo because your step-counter isn’t friends with your insurance company on Facebook, keep in mind that the majority of people surveyed weren’t exactly lining up to have their fitness judged by their local underwriter.

Although 38% of people were interested, another 38% said they were unlikely to participate. And 11% of those surveyed said that nothing could entice them to join a fitness monitoring program.1

Their top concern? You guessed it – privacy.

This means life insurers will need to find effective ways of addressing those sticky issues if they want to establish trust with consumers and truly discover just how few steps I actually take every day.

1. Being Watched: Consumers on Life Insurance Monitoring. LIMRA report, 2016.

2. Insurance Barometer Study. LIMRA and Life Happens 2016.

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Eric Tyndale

<p>Eric has an extensive background in content marketing and professional writing. He loves to write about personal finance and life insurance issues for the Lifenotes blog because he enjoys the challenge of making complicated topics fun for readers! Eric also covers community outreach initiatives.</p>