Munich Re Finds Activity Measured by Wearables can Assess Mortality Risk

Munich Re US found evidence that physical activity – measured by daily steps – is a predictor of mortality .

In a recently-published white paper, Munich Re assessed the effectiveness of physical activity as measured by wearable sensors in stratifying the mortality risk profile of a US population-based dataset provided by Vivametrica, a health analytics company. The analysis found that steps per day can segment mortality risk even after controlling for age, gender, smoking status and various health indicators.

“Vivametrica has complied a rich dataset comprised of multiple clinical research studies. Through our collaboration, Munich Re data scientists and actuaries were able to apply a broad set of analytic techniques to assess the value of this emerging source of data. Steps per day provides additional segmentation of mortality even after considering traditional underwriting factors such as smoking status, BMI, blood pressure and other health indicators. As insurance companies look to incorporate activity data into risk selection, Munich Re’s analytic staff will advise on underwriting guidelines and actuarial assumptions” – Sandra Chefitz, 2nd vice president, integrated analytics at Munich Re.

“We’re excited by the findings of our analysis with Vivametrica and see many opportunities to employ this information into risk assessment for life and disability insurance. As activity data captured by wearable devices and smartphones becomes increasingly ubiquitous it becomes easier to incorporate this emerging source of evidence to streamline underwriting and expand insurability” – Mike Taht, executive vice president, research, analytics and underwriting.

Bottom Line: insurers looking to incorporate new underwriting data in evaluating risks or improve customer engagement may want to consider using physical activity metrics from wearable sensors at various touch points in the life insurance process. That being said, one should also consider the cons, because where there’s engagement, there’s friction.


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