Who’s your daddy? Who’s Big Brother? Google? An easy argument can be made that Google is the new Big Brother because of how the company’s advertising technology trackers users almost wherever they go on the interwebs.
Is Facebook a Big Brother? Certainly. Like Google, Facebook is an advertising company that uses free software to track users online. Anybody else?
Depending upon your perspective, Apple Watch could be a new Big Brother.
A few years ago, insurance giant John Hancock introduced a behavior change platform called Vitality; now a requirement for future life insurance policies. What does Vitality do?
Vitality – a behavior change platform that rewards customers for the everyday steps they take to live longer, healthier lives.
Uh OK. So, as I see it, John Hancock wants customers to live longer. After all, their product is life insurance, so the longer a customer lives the more revenue John Hancock gets, and the longer the delay to pay out insurance.
Sounds altruistic to me. It’s also math.
How Vitality works is simple. Various rewards and discounts are provided to customers who use an Apple Watch or Fitbit device to record physical activities.
We have smart phones, smart cars and smart homes. It’s time for smart life insurance that meets the changing needs of consumers. We believe offering Vitality on all life insurance policies, at no additional cost, is the right thing to do for our customers, our business and society. We believe this is the future of our industry, and I encourage other insurance companies to follow suit
Translation: We want to track your activity.
Watch is one of those devices, along with a variety of applications and sensors embedded into iPhone, Fitbit, and perhaps other devices, that follow the time honored axiom, “Performance measured, is performance improved.”
If we measure and track our health, diet, and activities, we will become healthier humans.
We’re being treated like laboratory rats, but in a good way. Good for John Hancock which has sufficient data that customers who use the Vitality program (and devices like Apple Watch) are healthier and live longer.
Translation: We don’t have to pay out as much money.
The Vitality Plus program has a nominal monthly price tag, but also lets you earn an Apple Watch (or Fitbit device) at a huge discount. Other laboratory rat-like incentives include discounts at hotels, and starting in January, a one-year Amazon Prime membership.
How much are those monthly premiums at John Hancock?
This may be an ongoing trend whereby insurers recognize that those customers who track their health are better customers. How long before the U.S. government recognizes that Medicaid and Medicare is a ghastly expense which can be reduced substantially by giving everyone a Watch? How long after that before there is an application that tracks our health data and sends it to the government?
Color me a little paranoid, but we could be entering a new era where Apple is the supplier of Big Brother tracking devices.