Customers express willingness for insurers to access social media data for lower premiums

Published: June 20, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Privacy is a major debating point in our age of big data. Customers apparently value their privacy, but it seems if relinquishing some private data results in a reduction in insurance prices, consumers are on board.

A report from application building platform MuleSoft titled Consumer Connectivity Insights 2018 shows there is a desire for insurers to leverage social media data if it means lower premiums. MuleSoft surveyed 8,000 consumers to draw the conclusions detailed in the report.

44% of respondents say they would tolerate insurance companies or even third parties accessing data from services such as Facebook and WhatsApp. They would also be happy with data collection from smart home devices and health monitoring apps. Of course, this permission would only be granted in return for lower insurance prices.

The survey suggests young people are more open to relaxing their privacy, with 62% of 18 to 34-year old saying they would accept the idea. Geographically it seems residents in some nations are more open than others. In Singapore, 63% said they would share such data with insurers, while only 36% in the UK would do so.

“The research highlights that nearly half of consumers would be open to insurers using this information to enhance their services and gain a competitive edge by providing more personalized offerings,” said Jerome Bugnet, EMEA client architect, office of the CTO, ‎MuleSoft. “If such data is made readily available by social media sites to insurance providers, the industry should work with regulators to ensure processes are put in place to enable customers to indicate whether they want these additional data sources to be used to calculate a more personalized premium.

“However, insurers are already struggling to deliver a connected experience before even considering how they bring all these new data sources into the equation. Those that are unable to overcome this challenge risk damaging customer loyalty and falling behind the more innovative insurance providers.”