By: Steve Dellar | 09-21-2018 | News
Photo credit: Dirima |

Dystopian Future Fat Shaming As Insurer Links Policy To Fitness Tracker

The Big Brother state is officially on after one of the largest life insurance providers in North America explained it would no longer offer life insurance policies that do not include digital fitness tracking. Yes, you heard that right, insurer John Hancock wants to link your health data through wearable devices such as a smartwatch.

It was, of course, a sign on the wall when earlier this week Apple decided to add a new future feature to its watch and allow you to have a wearable ECG.

In the future, this will however not be enough to guarantee life insurance coverage.

If John Hancock’s plan is to be believed, you will also need to eat healthily, do regular exercise and come in for regular checkups. The company says it is a simple extension of its first interactive policy launched in 2015 and that it will now apply this model across all of its policies.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Oh, holy CRAP - I can&#39;t tell whether my head is exploding but my instincts say this has about 8 million ways it could go wrong: John Hancock will no longer sell life insurance unless it&#39;s tied to your tracker data - and if you&#39;re &quot;good&quot; they&#39;ll send you gift cards?? <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Dave deBronkart (@ePatientDave) <a href="">September 20, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Ms. Marianne Harrison, CEO of John Hancock, was asked what she would do with all the data that her policy holders would be sending her. Her answer: “We get a lot of very sensitive data, medical data, financial data on a regular basis. so from a data perspective, we are very careful obviously with what we do.”

“But the best part of this program is that you can choose how much data you want to share with us. So we’re very clear in terms of how we use your data and then you make the choice in terms of what you want to share and what you don’t wanna share.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">John Hancock Insurance wants to reward policy holders for their healthy lifestyles. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Runner&#39;s World (@runnersworld) <a href="">September 20, 2018</a></blockquote>

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According to the CEO, policyholders will be able to earn discounts and rewards such as gift cards for hitting exercise targets or lowering their blood pressure.

A nice marketing answer of course but critics were quick to respond to John Hancock’s new plan, calling it "creepy" and "dystopian".

Mr. Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute, said the privacy invasion of this new policy model was enormous: "Naturally the American dystopian surveillance state will combine insurance with fat-shaming. Welcome to hell."

The company defended against the criticism by pointing out that its Vitality insurance holders, who already agree to regular checkups and fitness programs, live between 13 and 21 years longer than the rest of the insured population.


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5 Comment/s
Anonymous No. 37605 2018-09-21 : 12:10

We have an HSA with our insurance plan. At first they contributed $100 a month, then they linked getting the money to a tracker. We said no.

tab No. 37610 2018-09-21 : 12:56

just learn to speak spanish and carry no ID. then you get FREE healthcare.

Anonymous No. 37611 2018-09-21 : 13:09

You really do see the push–via healthcare plans–to be part of (often through some BS incentives) a monitored fitness program, along with DNA "heath assessment" testing, and various types of cancer health screenings (kits sent to you in the mail as "part of your plan").

Anonymous No. 37614 2018-09-21 : 13:36

Sounds good to me, wouldn't mind signing up for that.

Anonymous No. 37640 2018-09-21 : 17:40

Next an implanted chip. Works for cattle, right?

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