For individuals who wish to protect their spouse, children, or other loved ones in the event of their untimely death, life insurance has long been the financial product of choice. The popularity of life insurance is due, in no small part, to its simplicity - you pay a premium and if you die within a pre-determined time-frame, the insurance company pays out.
The most complex aspect of this relatively straightforward process is inarguably the setting of the premium rates. Some insurance companies will require you to undergo a detailed medical examination, while others will merely require you to fill out an application that details your medical history. This data is then studied by a team of underwriters who will calculate your risk levels and set your premium rates.
This entire process has remained largely unchanged for decades - until now. Recently, insurers have begun to utilize powerful algorithms which are capable of scouring the web for your personal information. These systems can grab information such as your credit score, your streaming history, and, in rare cases, your pictures from social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Once this data has been gathered, the algorithm places a value on its findings in order to make your risk assessment more precise and accurate.
Whether or not the program is beneficial to you will ultimately depend on what it finds. If the algorithm locates a high number of positive indicators in your online presence, it is possible that you will be approved for your policy at a lower rate without ever needing to sit through a medical test.
If, however, the system spots a large number of negative indicators on your screening, you may find yourself facing higher premiums or more invasive testing. It is for this very reason that a Wall Street Journal article recently advised that you should not "post photos of yourself smoking on social-media sites."
Of course, no matter how the world of life insurance changes over the coming years, you won't ever have to handle it on your own. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake are always ready to assist. For help with life insurance or any other estate planning projects, simply give us a call at (410) 927-5137.