If You had Sex in the Back Seat … Would Your Insurer Know?!

insurance-telematicsEver since the Internet of Things became a thing, the tension between telematics and privacy has been on some people’s minds. As it turns out, fitness monitoring devices have the potential to share, oh, so much more than you’d assume.

Does your fitness monitoring device kiss and tell?

We’re talking about the wearable devices that track lifestyle activity throughout the day, calculating just how many steps you take, calories you burn and foods you consume.

Now that this type of data is available, life and health insurance providers have an opportunity to harness it, offering customers personalized rates in exchange for wearing one of the devices in question.

In Johannesburg, for example, customers can share lifestyle metrics with insurers via fitness monitoring devices, earning points for healthy habits. The same service may be coming soon to the United States. It won’t be long before you could reel in a lower life insurance rate by letting your insurer track your health through a wearable device.

Not everyone’s excited about that idea, of course.

Kashmir Hill, Fusion contributor and senior editor at Fusion’s Real Future, has a concern and she spells it S-E-X. “First, insurance companies gave us black boxes to put in our cars so they could track our driving, in exchange for discounts when we refrain from speeding,” Hill wrote. “Now, they’re coming for our bodies.”

How much does your insurer know about your sex life?

Hill is referring to a funny TechCrunch article posted by Gregory Ferenstein, who inadvertently discovered that his sexual activity registered a recognizable pattern on his health-tracking watch – one that’s noticeably different from the patterns produced by his other activities, including yoga, weight-lifting and grocery-shopping.

“Were I married, my wife might like to know why I burned 100 calories between 1:07 to 2:00 a.m., without taking a single step, and fell asleep right afterwards,” Ferenstein wrote.

This observation didn’t bother him one bit. “For techno-optimists (like myself), radical transparency in sex is a welcome part of life: it will reduce cheating and prompt honest conversations about satisfaction,” Ferenstein said. “For techno-pessimists, it opens a can of worms (no pun intended) that people would sooner keep closed.”

Hill ,whose personal mission is “to prove privacy isn’t dead yet,” is presumably on the “techno-pessimist” side of Ferenstein’s coin. Either way, it’s clear that fitness monitoring devices are capable of divulging some pretty personal data with whomever is on the other end.

In auto insurance, we spell it UBI – not TMI.

While health and life insurers who connect their offerings to telematics data may end up knowing more about your personal habits than you meant to share, rest assured, auto insurers will not be listening in. What happens in the back seat stays in the back seat.

That’s because the data that UBI is based on is concerned with your car’s behavior – not your own. So, unless your sex life happens to affect your braking, cornering, speed or garaging location, your auto insurer will never be the wiser.

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