Mansell, Engel & Cole

Just how much does your insurer know about you?

An accurate response to the above-posed headline in today’s blog post can be delivered in a single word: plenty.

You likely believe that the insurance company or multiple insurers that you contract with to safeguard against life’s material risks have personal data about you that is closely equivalent to what you provided them in application materials.

Nothing more or less, right? It’s not like they’re snooping around behind your back for additional information they might potentially use against you in an adverse way.

Wait a minute. They are?

Indeed, they are, and the third-party sources readily available for them to tap into are vast and varied. What you think an insurer knows about your personal life is likely an immense understatement of what is truly the case.

Is that problematic?

A recent article addressing the matter indicates that it certainly could be in cases where an insurer is using so-called “predictive analytics” to gauge things like your premium amount or its decision to offer or deny you coverage. These days, a company can mine/troll Internet sites and other info sources to gain a close perspective on things ranging from your buying choices to your drinking habits. Such data can configure heavily into an insurer’s ultimate determination that a prospective or actual policyholder is a bad risk.

Arguably, that’s a bit much and might reasonably make most consumers more than a bit uncomfortable, right?

Critics of insurers who aggressively collect personal data unbeknownst to consumers and then manipulate it pursuant to a view that the information is their proprietary property flatly worry about the implications involved in that.

“I doubt anyone fully grasps how much and what insurers have on us, how they obtain it and how they use it,” says one industry commentator.

Perhaps regulators need to prominently spotlight the concerns posed by such uncertainty and demand a higher level of transparency from insurance companies.

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