It resembles a scene that you would watch as a kid on “Leave it to Beaver”. Young boy enters bathroom and picks up his toothbrush to clean his teeth. Suddenly his mother emerges from the kitchen and chastises him, “I know that you only brushed for 1 minute. You need to brush for 2 minutes every time.” He wonders if his mother has eyes in the back of her head, but what he doesn’t realize is that his toothbrush is equipped with Telematics. It is not just his mother that is watching him.
The Telematics that is used in the toothbrush is the technology of “sending, receiving and storing information via telecommunication devices in conjunction with effecting control on remote objects.” It is sort of a modern day, “Big Brother is Watching You” from the novel “1984.” Installing small computer chips in objects to send information back to a company to gauge usage.
Cars have been equipped with this technology for years (consider the On-Star system, E-Z Pass, or Navigation tools such as Garmin.) But from refrigerators to your thermostat to that fitness activity monitor on your wrist, companies are watching you.
What does this have to do with the subject of insurance? Well beyond the blog that I wrote a few months ago concerning Telematics, automobiles and insurance …. manufacturer’s as well as insurance companies are looking to learn EVERYTHING possible about client habits.
Manufactures to gauge effectiveness. Insurance companies to gauge habits.
Beam Technologies Inc. is the inventor of the toothbrush mentioned above. Per Insurance Journal Magazine, “Pairing the toothbrush with a smartphone application that monitors daily brushing, is one of the latest uses of technology by insurers hungry for more real-time information on their clients. It helps them assess risk more accurately and set rates accordingly.”
Brush three times and day vigorously shows that you care about your health. Run 45 minutes on a treadmill each morning wearing a FITBIT, demonstrates that fitness is important to you. To the world of insurance, you are less of a risk when it comes to Health or Life Insurance. The company with weigh that fact with other patterns about your behavior and may reward the effort by setting your rates lower. could set your rates lower. Reward the effort. Have a more “whole” picture of yourself.
There have been discussions concerning the fairness of this practice. Will insurance agencies and carriers use the information to only choose the best possible customer base? But insurance regulation on the state and federal level prohibits “Redlining” or “Cherry-picking” from the top pool of customers. And with everyone searching for lower insurance rates across the board, Telematics in your car, on your wrist and embedded in your toothbrush is the future in gauging and rewarding insurance clients on their responsible behavior.
Interested in learning more. This great YouTube video explains Telematics further.
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