Lots of people are willing to give away information about themselves. Recent news stories confirm this. The Cambridge Analytica scandal shows how people are willing to sign away the rights to their personal data without questioning where it will go. If people want access to something – whether it be a website, app or game – they are usually willing to click the box that allows people to access their data, without thinking about it.

This is true of the insurance world. It is increasingly popular for drivers to consent to a ‘black-box’ being fitted to their car. This records data on the driver, and shows the insurer how safe or unsafe they are. This, to some, is an invasion of the right to privacy. For others, it might provide a model on how to lower premiums for other forms of insurance.

Life insurance is based on insurers having a reasonable grasp of how healthy you are. This is so they can know how likely you are to make a claim. If you are likely to cost insurers more, they will probably be less keen to insure you. The principle of risk is how insurers have always worked. However, new technologies allow insurers to understand your personal risk better.

Many people who wish to get fit, or simply to measure their own exercise rates, have fitness trackers. These devices take and record data such as heartrate and amount of time spent exercising. Some life insurers are now offering discounts to people who are willing to wear such a device, and share its data with them.

This is part of the worldwide move towards using big data. In the abstract, it seems a fine idea that healthier people will get cheaper health insurance. However, ethical debates are necessary. Insurers and customers need to decide how much personal data is really worth, and how much people are really willing to give away their own information.

At Alternative Insurance Brokers, we only use your personal data to get you a quotation. You then have the right to opt in or out of receiving marketing from us. We will also forget your data at any time if you ask us to. Legally, however, all brokers and insurers have to keep some data for seven years after you take out a policy with us