Wearable technology could become prerequisite for insurance policies

It could be impossible to get life cover without a wearable device in the next five to 10 years, according to Swiss Re.

The reinsurance giant claims that the data provided by wearables could transform the industry -despite the privacy issues that still surround this technology.

“This has the potential to be a mini revolution when it comes to the way we underwrite for life insurance risk,” said Swiss Re managing director Neil Sprackling.

“If you’ve got a groundswell of people who are actively engaging with these wearable devices, through which health information is being provided willingly, there is a much more efficient, more customer-friendly way of allowing people to assess risk.”

A number of popular wearable products, such as Fitbit and Jawbone, have seen mass adoption in consumer markets in recent years. These devices can monitor heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns and take various other health measurements.

Swiss Re’s innovation manager Oliver Werneyer claimed failure to wear such a device could invalidate insurance policies in the not too distant future.

“No wearable device equals no health insurance,” he said. “This could be our reality in the next five to ten years. If you do not have a wearable device that tracks your health then you will find it nearly impossible to buy life insurance.”