#CBC: “Privacy consultants say selecting life insurance coverage tied to health monitoring may have unintended penalties ” #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada

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Privacy consultants say they’re involved life-insurance packages that reward clients for behaviours like logging their exercise utilizing a health tracker may have unintended penalties for the security of their private information.

Insurance large John Hancock, owned by Canadian firm Manulife Financial Corp., introduced Thursday a change to “interactive” life-insurance insurance policies solely, which supply incentives for issues like carrying a Fitbit or different health tracker.

Customers in John Hancock’s program — a partnership with Vitality Group — would not have to log their actions to get protection, however can obtain reductions or different perks in the event that they do. The insurer will start changing current conventional life insurance coverage insurance policies to interactive variations in 2019, it stated.

That considerations privateness advocates who fear these optionally available packages will not be optionally available down the street.

“At this stage, they’re saying it’s voluntary,” stated Ann Cavoukian, who served as Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner from 1997 to 2014.

“My gut says overtime it’s not going to be voluntary, or it will be less voluntary, or there will be consequences for not doing it. Like you’ll pay higher premiums because … you’re not willing to share that data. That’s what disturbs me.”

The particular person must be accountable for their private data associated to their bodily exercise and different selections that they make of their life. – Anne Cavoukian, former Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner

Cavoukian stated there are some positives about insurance coverage packages that provide incentives for sustaining wholesome habits. 

“I do the 10,000 steps. I subscribe to that kind of activity, so I think it’s a plus for those individuals who choose to engage in that kind of behaviour,” she stated.

“But that is the key issue here. The individual has to be in control of their personal information related to their physical activity and other choices that they make in their life. And they have to be free not to want to share that kind of data with their insurance company.”

‘The unknown arises’

Although Manulife has not introduced the same transfer away from conventional insurance coverage insurance policies right here in Canada, the Toronto-based firm rolled out its personal interactive insurance policies in 2016, following successes with related packages in Africa, Asia and the U.S.

Cavoukian warned Canadians to “be aware of unintended consequences.” She stated well being data may get into different fingers, corresponding to employers who would possibly take a dim view if you happen to fall off the health wagon.

“Something I’ve heard again and again during my three terms as privacy commissioner, is that the unknown arises — something you hadn’t anticipated in terms of having your information used for something it was not intended for.”

A person is seen outdoors the Manulife Financial head workplace in Toronto on this May 3, 2012 file picture. Manulife has not introduced a transfer away from conventional insurance coverage insurance policies. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

Tandy Thomas, an assistant professor at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business, additionally has some blended emotions about this mannequin of insurance coverage. 

She stated she’s in favour of interactive insurance policies like those provided by John Hancock — and believes they might convey a few optimistic shift within the insurance coverage trade. But she cautions that buyers do not know what health monitoring for insurance coverage functions may appear to be sooner or later.

“We’re at a pivotal point now where the technology is moving faster than our ability to fully think through the moral and ethical implications,” stated Thomas. “There at all times must be a stage of warning in fascinated with how is that this going for use.

“It has huge potential for bringing about consumer good and societal well being, but we need to make sure that it’s actually what’s happening and that it’s not being distorted in a way that could lead to unintended negative eventualities.”

Corey Larocque, communications advisor to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, stated in an e mail to CBC that though the Commissioner’s workplace has not checked out this specific case, the problem of corporations providing incentives in trade for private data is “very much on our radar.”

Laroque stated the trade of non-public data for a monetary consideration, corresponding to diminished insurance coverage premiums, is suitable so long as the group abides by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s federal personal sector privateness legislation. 

“As a general rule, we encourage people to carefully consider the potential implications before sharing any personal information — especially sensitive information.”

‘Different consequence?’

Dr. Joshua Tepper, a household doctor and University of Toronto affiliate professor in household drugs, stated he sees the John Hancock information as the results of two elements taking part in out in his observe.

For one, his sufferers are embracing well being monitoring and infrequently come into their appointments armed with health data and different biometric information — together with coronary heart fee and blood stress. Secondly, insurance coverage corporations write to him greater than ever to hunt details about his sufferers and their interactions with the well being care system.

Tepper stated there is a danger that insurance coverage companies could rely too closely on issues like health information when genetic elements, household historical past and the sort of work folks do additionally play large roles in well being and life expectancy.

For instance, he questions whether or not, if you happen to twisted your ankle and could not meet your steps purpose for 3 months, it could be honest on your insurance coverage firm to hike your premiums.

“Do we really know that that difference in steps is going to lead to a different outcome?”

With recordsdata from Jacqueline Hansen, Meegan Read, Brandie Weikle and Matt Galloway.

Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-09-21 15:59:52, as ‘Privacy consultants say selecting life insurance coverage tied to health monitoring may have unintended penalties

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