Selfie technology could revamp life insurance industry

Life insurance companies are rethinking the way people apply for policies, and may someday begin using selfies to determine eligibility, reported abcnews.

Insurers use life expectancy estimates to decide whether or not to approve people for policies and to set premium prices. As well as the information supplied on an application, insurers often use other data, such as medical histories or examinations to determine an applicant's life expectancy.

Thanks to new technology from North Carolina company Lapetus, selfies might eventually be added to the list of data sources for insurers to draw on. The product, called Chronos, uses facial analytics and other data to determine life expectancy.

"Your face is something you wear all your life, and it tells a very unique story about you," says Karl Ricanek Jr., co-founder and chief data scientist at Lapetus Solutions Inc.

Ricanek said that generally, customers were willing to share selfies with insurers in return for benefits like a quicker application process, and Lapetus claims that Chronos would allow customers to buy life insurance online in as little as 10 minutes.

The revamped application process would have customers upload a selfie, which would then be analysed to extract information including your body mass index, how old you look and whether or not this matches up to your actual age.

Industry professionals have said it’s unlikely the Chronos technology would ever be used on its own for life insurance applications. Instead, it would be combined with answers to traditional application questions, allowing insurers to get an accurate and quick risk assessment.

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Before it can be used however, Chronos would need regulatory approval and insurers would need to be convinced of its reliability and accuracy. When and if that happens, the technology will assumedly be rolled out in the US first, and then it’s likely only a matter of time before it hits Aussie shores.

In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a life insurance policy, you can find some of the best deals around by heading over to our life insurance page.