A new lease of Life

With the release of our fourth Global Consumer Study comes new insight into market trends, and this year’s focus on the generational divides highlights the rise in AI investment in the health and wellness fields.

Wearable technology has been on the up and up across all generations as part of a significant shift to (some might wish to say obsession with) healthy living. In the last year alone the market has seen a 42% increase in customers who own a wearable device, with particular focus on wearables that go beyond simple tracking to measure different aspects of health (activity, sleep, diet etc).

Rising popularity
Unsurprisingly, wearable devices are most popular amongst Millennials, who are also the demographic most likely to use all aspects of their devices. Rather than just monitoring what they’re doing (the FitBit model for example), they are actively inputting all aspects of health and wellness data into their devices.

The opportunities wearable tech unlocks for the insurance industry are vast  twitter icon

Of polled future users, Millennials were the most invested generation: over 50% of those asked said they would use a wearable device to individually track activity, sleep, exercise and diet, with percentages reaching 76% (for activity). Most interestingly, over 90% of Millennials and Generation X believe that wearables have a positive impact on their lifestyle. Other participants might not be that invested, but there is a cross-generational consensus that wearables are incredibly worthwhile pieces of tech.

Opportunity knocks
The opportunities this uptake unlocks for the insurance industry are vast. Wearable tech provides a wealth of live data which can be tapped into, and has allowed the conversation to turn to “dynamic underwriting”.

While underlying fears surrounding data privacy remain, there is always a value judgement involved. Provided insurers recognise these fears and partner with reputable providers to ensure data security, relevant incentives and rewards can convince the consumer of the value of the data exchange – and persuade them to subscribe to a longer-term commitment.

When one considers that Millennials and Gen X overwhelmingly believe that wearable technology can have a positive impact on lifestyle, there is more than enough room for insurers to use wearables to help cultivate better lifestyles in their consumers.

Taking risks on rewards
Take the competitive nature of FitBit for example. When a consumer can set up a group which tracks the step data of friends or family, there is a tendency to get competitive. Individuals will try to ensure they hit their step counts and beyond in order to “win” – even if the prize is merely bragging rights. Competition shapes a user’s activity and lifestyle already, before tangible incentives and rewards are added to the mix.

With health becoming the new wealth, and a perception of wearables as the new status symbol, there is huge scope in this still-developing market for insurance – particularly those schemes which are incentivised for making positive changes – to make real headway and change how consumers perceive insurance.