Who’s on first? Identification and wearables change insurance

Who’s on first? Identification and wearables change insurance

Why insurance needs verification speed for IoT, fast
Why insurance needs verification speed for IoT, fast

IoB Insiders Steve Sandquist looks at the link between identification and wearables, and why reliable data is key to the future of both going forward.

Remember the discourse between Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in their baseball comedy act ‘Who’s on First?’  Costello, a peanut vendor named Sebastian Dinwiddle, and Abbott, Dexter Broadhurt, the manager of the fictitious St. Louis Wolves, exchange dialogue in a hilarious back and forth about the identity of the players on the team.  Here is a snippet:

Abbott:  I say Who’s on first, what’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third.

Costello:  Are you the manager?

Abbott:  Yes.

Costello:  You gonna be the coach too?

costello

Abbott:  Yes.

Costello:  And you don’t know the fellows’ names?

Abbott:  Well I should.

Costello:  Well, then who’s on first?

Abbott:  Yes.

Costello:  I mean the fellow’s name.

Abbott:  Who.

Costello:  The guy on first.

Abbott:  Who.

Costello:  The first baseman.

On and on they fumble, moving to different positions and never fully knowing the identity of their players.

The same can be said right now for wearables information with identification in insurance.  The case for identification is first and foremost for insurance professionals to make use of that wearable data.

biosole

There are a litany of reasons that folks wear wearables but according to the Smart Technology and Living Special Report as reported by Raconteur, the number one reason they do is for features that give monetary rewards.  And who gives more monetary rewards than insurers?

Let’s examine why identification is so much a part of actionable data for insurers.

Identification is very new to wearables since wearables have so far been largely used to help get people healthier. The dollars you have been able to earn to date have been relatively small.

As dollars increase over time, so will chance of fraud.  Identification is pertinent to personalization and better ROI.  I asked two experts in the area of wearables and identification for their input on how identification and wearables will go hand-in-hand:

“We at Vivametrica are confident that we can predict health status and disease risk of an individual in a highly personalized and valid way,” said Dr. Richard Hu, Orthopedic Surgeon, CEO Vivametrica.

“However, to be useful to insurers and enterprise, there must be a high degree of confidence that the data is originating from the persons of interest. Even when our analyzes are used in aggregated group settings, confirmation of identity and confidence in the origin of data is critical to allow good business and health related decisions.”

“The ability to couple individual identity to a wearable platform (“personalization”), is essential for (re)insurers (reinsurers and insurers) when grading the efficacy of insights of wearable data produced,” said Todd Gray, chairman and chief product officer, autonomous_ID Canada Inc. “Reliability and fidelity of data are separate issues, as are privacy and security, however tightly intertwined when weighing the purpose of use and value contribution of any given wearable.

“For (Re)insurers, data is oil.  (Re)insurers need better, qualified data that is structured, individualized and actionable.  At autonomous, we will empower data through our Internet-of-Me (IoMe) InsurTech extension Optimized Personal Insurance (OPI) (subsidiary) to create opportunities within the broad (re)insurance space to empower the insured’s and the insurance value chain components like underwriting, actuarial, claims, customer engagement and marketing.”

Related: Insurers must integrate IoT into business processes or face extinction

At a recent Internet of Insurance event in New York hosted by IoB, I posed what I thought was a poignant question about the fidelity of data without identification and can it be used by underwriters.  It was asked to a major reinsurance underwriter and she said they cannot use this data.  It just was not reliable simply because of a lack of identity.

How do we get identification?  There must be evidence that identification follows data simultaneously.  Otherwise, the process can be upended.  For Todd Gray’s Bio_Sole wearable, identification is garnered in three to 10 steps with their Bio_ Sole wearable technology.  How can we move forward without identification?  No point of origin means no use unfortunately.  I know this changes everything.  It is important because the (re)insurers are not able to use this data for algorithms.

Much of point of origin wearable technology data can be used in underwriting algorithms for better pricing and more personalization given equal fidelity to measuring precisions.  Actuaries need to know the origin of data for trustworthy decision making.  Underwriters want to know if Steve sent data or his new Dachshund tearing up a park really forwarded.  Claims and even marketers need verified information.  The consumer wants their data to show their progress based on others’ dependable data.

Did we take a crazy pill and forget identification?  Yes and no.  Wearables got people working out and that was most important until we understood identification.  Now, we need to go to the next stage – identification – and a trustworthy point of origin.  Carriers are not going to sign up for monetary rewards without getting confirmation that their customers are making effort and providing ROI.  Without identification, the process will be easily gamed as the dollars get huge and the consumer wants insights from trusted data.

What needs to happen?   We have a gap and it is widening.  Insurers are getting data.  They are offering rewards.  People are moving and getting active.  But can the actuary use this information.  Not without identification.  We are giving voice to our actuaries.  “Help,” they say.

What needs to occur is data integrity and fidelity.  That begins with identification.  Somehow this data needs to be tethered to the data giver.  Then and only then can we worry about how well the data measures what is actually happening.  Without identification, there is no reason to progress to data accuracies.

I do not apologize for humbly rocking this world with this information.

Steven Sandquist is President of Sandquist Consulting, LLC. and works with the insurance industry, health care and wearables globally.

Related: Harnessing the digital insurance revolution through IoT

ib_insiders-banner-for-articles