The Key to Easy Life Insurance: a Selfie?

Insurance companies testing facial analytics
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2017 4:45 PM CDT
You Could One Day Get Life Insurance With a Selfie
A couple takes a selfie in front of a Tulip Magnolia tree in Washington.   (Cliff Owen)

A selfie reveals more than whether it's a good hair day. Facial lines and contours, droops and dark spots could indicate how well you're aging, and, when paired with other data, could someday help determine whether you qualify for life insurance, the AP reports. Several life insurance companies are testing technology that uses facial analytics and other data to estimate life expectancy, says Karl Ricanek Jr., co-founder and chief data scientist at Lapetus Solutions Inc. Insurers use life expectancy estimates to make policy approval and pricing decisions. Lapetus says its product, Chronos, would enable a customer to buy life insurance online in as little as 10 minutes without taking a life insurance medical exam.

If Chronos is adopted by an insurer—which would need to get regulatory approval from states to use it in the underwriting process—you'd upload a selfie to the insurer online and answer health and other questions. The facial analytics technology would scan hundreds of points on your face and extract certain information, including your body mass index, how old you look, and whether you're aging faster or slower than your actual age. This information would then be paired with other data gathered with your permission. Life insurance companies feel this could ease the policy buying process and boost sales. After all, consumers don't like the wait on the typical application process, which can take weeks and often requires a medical exam. (More life insurance stories.)

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