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Insurance companies – social profiling and automated discrimination based on Facebook and Google


Facebook, Twitter and Google

Social media sites sell your data to anyone who’ll pay.  You may think this is harmless, but social profiling, and automated discrimination works to harm the poor and the disabled.  It’s very unhealthy for society to be watched –  espeically by insurance companies.

The Wall Street Journal ran an  excellent report, detailing how insurance companies are monitoring social media in order to price your insurance premium.

Insurers Test Data Profiles to Identify Risky Clients

For insurers and data-sellers alike, the new techniques could open up a regulatory can of worms. The information sold by marketing-database firms is lightly regulated. But using it in the life-insurance application process would “raise questions” about whether the data would be subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, says Rebecca Kuehn of the Federal Trade Commission’s division of privacy and identity protection. The law’s provisions kick in when “adverse action” is taken against a person, such as a decision to deny insurance or increase rates.

AIG is in the early stages of analysis “to figure out what is meaningful and what is not” in the data, says Bob Beuerlein, chief actuary for its SunAmerica Financial unit. The tests are being conducted by an in-house “think tank” whose mission, he says, is “to see where we’re going in the future.”

There are myriad sources of personal data. Acxiom recently told investors it takes in three billion pieces of information daily as businesses seek to “monetize” information about their customers. Some retailers share information about purchases made by people, including item description, price and the person’s name.

Celent, an insurance consulting arm of Marsh & McLennan Cos., recently published a study suggesting insurers could use social-networking data to help price policies and aid in fraud detection.

A life insurer might want to scrutinize an applicant who reports no family history of cancer, but indicates online an affinity with a cancer-research group, says Mike Fitzgerald, a Celent senior analyst.

In conclusion

  • Social media will be analysed. So will your search terms in Google.
  • The poor and disabled will be hunted down.
  • You’d better cancel your charity donations to Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation, as they might cancel your life insurance for your “abnormal affinity”.
  • Sick isn’t it…
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