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The technology revolution: Plenty of disruption to come

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Wearable technology is already in use but the pace at which it is developing is set to transform the protection market.

Contact lenses to track blood sugar levels, facial biometric devices to track your emotions and wristbands to track calories, heart rates and blood pressure are already science fact rather than fiction.

The ability to add such precision to the underwriting process could dramatically alter premiums, both up and down, depending on the information being fed through to the insurance company.

In this week’s cover story, we explore the impact of this innovation on the protection market and your clients. The technology has a huge potential to improve people’s lives by alerting them to take preventative action at an early stage.

But while such innovations will be beneficial for many clients, the data that becomes available will also raise moral and practical questions.

How much should insurers know about you? How do you stop individuals ‘gaming’ the system? Whatever your view, these advances will be transformative and are moving at such a pace that concerns will need to be dealt with quickly.

Donkey Konged 

We also talk to the developers of computer game classics Donkey Kong Country and GoldenEye about using technology to better engage with clients visually.

Lee Musgrave and Mark Betteridge were an integral part of Rare, the game business sold to Microsoft for £375m in 2002. Their recent work includes Seven Investment Management’s new client app.

The pair believe the financial services industry has been pretty terrible at making investment information engaging and relevant for clients – a fair point – and suggest we haven’t even begun to see the impact that tablet technology will have on client behaviour.

Online advice

One next step will be to look at how such technology can get more involved in the financial planning process, a theme our technology columnist Ian McKenna has been exploring in detail. It’s something that has stirred a huge amount of debate on our website, following comments from the FCA about the need to deliver online advice solutions to fill any advice gap.

Technological advances have yet to disrupt the financial advice sector in the same way they have other areas, probably due to concerns about breaching regulation. But it seems likely there will be plenty of disruption to come.

Paul McMillan is group editor at Money Marketing- follow him on twitter here 

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I’m a big fan of life tracking, recording most activities (running, walking, swimming, etc) on my Garmin watch and uploading the data to Garmin Connect, recording my resting heart rate every morning and jumping on the bathroom scales before breakfast every day. I also have a tendency to (over) share this data, which is probably another threat when it comes to things like life assurance underwriting in the future. How long before underwriters start looking at Facebook profiles to catch out supposed non-smokers or checking Foursquare data to discover applicants have been visiting sub-Saharan African brothels?

  2. James Harrington 24th April 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Martin, I’m interested in your comments that you would see a potential “threat” in underwriters finding out information that, in the cases you (light-heartedly) mention, would have probably been deemed as non disclosure and thereby resulting in the evil insurance company turning down a potential claim or rejecting the application? Surely you are not encouraging, or suggesting, people be untruthful in their applications? If I felt it would reduce the costs of protection, I would willingly attach my Runkeeper data, or Myfitnesspal reports..

    Like you, I also over do the scale hopping and run logging, tracking that illusive mile or stubborn pound, and I am considerably more concerned as to why those weird algorithmic based adverts pop up all the time advising me how to lose belly fat by avoiding bananas, when (before children) they used to pop up telling me the best hotels in the Maldives…

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