Can a selfie save you money on your life insurance? Or could it cost you big time? To get the big picture, read on.
Say “cheese!” They say “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And unless you’ve been living on a secluded island in the Pacific for the last few years, you know that people take pictures of everything now…anytime and anywhere. In short, people take “selfies” of the awesome moments in their lives. Such as eating the most fantastic pastrami sandwich…ever! And if you’re packin’ a “selfie stick,” you and your friends could actually take a group shot at any sit-down deli (where good pastrami can typically be found) with delicious results.
But for all of the self-satisfaction that a selfie can provide, these quick, downloadable digital snapshots can also potentially be used for another unique purpose…helping you save time and money on your life insurance!
How? According to a recent article, there is now software available that can estimate life expectancy via facial analytics. North Carolina-based technology company, Lapetus Solutions, Inc., is currently testing this new software, Chronos, with several life insurance carriers (Lapetus will not disclose which life insurance companies are participating in the testing process).
How does this new software work?
If you were to apply for life insurance with a carrier utilizing Chronos, buying a policy online could take as little as ten minutes…without a medical exam, according to Lapetus. Chronos’ facial analytics technology scans hundreds of facial points, and can help determine your body mass index, physiological age (how old you look), and whether you are aging faster or slower than your actual age…very quickly. So, in theory, statistical estimations of life expectancy can be made much faster with this type of software.
The typical life insurance application process can take weeks to complete and often requires a medical exam. Carriers know that customers always want a quicker path to having their policies approved. So if this technology proves successful, the speed of policy underwriting could not only save customers time and money in the application process, but could also significantly boost sales.
Karl Ricanek Jr., co-founder and chief data scientist at Lapetus, says the company’s market research found that customers are willing to share photos if they think they’ll get something back in return, such as being able to purchase a policy more quickly.
Which types of life insurance policies does this new technology affect?
At the present time, this technology will most likely just affect life insurance policies that typically do not require a medical exam, such as Term-Life (some), Child Life, Final Expense and a few others. Again, the present benefit of this facial analytic technology is that it can help speed up the approval process, while not bypassing the standard life insurance vetting processes.
Is there a dark side to this technology?
Well, as they say, “the jury is still out.” The FBI has been using facial recognition technology in its crime-busting endeavors for years. But depending on your particular point of view, that fact might or might not be reassuring.
This present-day technological uncertainty is one of the reasons why insurance carriers are taking a slow, cautious approach towards this new software. “This (Chronos) one may or may not meet the vetting process to make carriers comfortable,” says Robert Kerzner, president and CEO of the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA).
Will this technology eliminate a medical exam for ALL types of life insurance policies?
Lapetus is also exploring the possibility of using facial analytics to identify early signs of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.
So the next time you shoot a selfie, keep in mind that someday that picture could help save you money on your life insurance. And there’s nothing cheesy about that.