Insurers ask a lot of questions. Fair enough, that’s how they get to know you. To entice you to answer them though, wouldn’t it be better if they developed a trusting relationship first, rather than trying to buy your info with a voucher or reward?
Would you take your clothes off? For most people it depends on who is asking.
An intimate partner that you’ve established trust with? Yes? I thought so. A radiographer about to do a breast cancer screening? Yes? Fair enough. A massage or physical therapist? Yes? A dermatologist conducting a skin cancer screening? Yes, you bet. What about for a guy in a suit waving a bit of cash around? Nope? Definitely not?
Did I guess your answers right?
Let’s unpack this for a moment. You will reveal intimate, private parts of yourself to someone you’ve established trust with and who you know is going to act in your best interests. That’s a universal truth. Whereas, very few of us are going to put ourselves in a vulnerable position for a few bucks or some small extrinsic reward. It’s actually insulting to even think that anyone would ask. It feels downright degrading.
Yet, it’s happening.
Insurers are trying this on, across the world.
They’re asking people to fill out health risk assessments (HRAs) and reveal private and personal information for small rewards. The rewards might be a discount off a premium, or a voucher to earn a product or even a penalty for not completing the HRA. Whilst this approach results in a small percentage of people willing to exchange their private information for a gratuity (in the same way that a small cohort of the population do indeed undress for cash), I guess, most of us just feel really uncomfortable.
When an insurer asks for your private information in exchange for a trinket, what they’ve failed to do is put themselves where they need to be – in a position of trust. Without trust there can be no intimacy. By bringing money or rewards into the conversation, any chance of genuine trust and shared value is extinguished. In fact, it just arouses suspicion.
So why aren’t insurers putting in the hard yards of establishing trust?
In fact, it’s a lost opportunity.
Your insurer has everything to gain by helping you live the longest, healthiest, happiest life possible. It’s in their interest and that of their shareholders. Every day that you don’t get sick or die, is a win for them. On that basis, your insurer should understand where you’re headed and carry a lantern a few steps ahead to make sure your path is safe and that you don’t get anywhere near the precipice.
The logic here is irrefutable. The incentives are completely aligned. It’s in our nature to want to feel safe and secure and certain. We are willing to pay a price for this. Which is why we have insurance. It helps us sleep at night knowing that if something terrible should happen, insurance will be at the bottom of the cliff to deal with the mess.
But why are insurers sitting at the bottom of the cliff?
Why aren’t they leading us away from the edge? Why not get ahead of us and use their data, knowledge, expertise and resources to keep us safe in the first place? I’d pay extra for that. That’s what I want. I wouldn’t shop around, or switch or let my cover lapse.
When you think about it, insurance is the ultimate social good. It mutualises risk so nobody gets wiped out financially. Yet, rather than holding the position of the most trusted and righteous industry on earth, most people seem to view insurers with suspicion. I think this needs to change.
If my insurer could gather enough information from me that they could help anticipate what’s likely to go wrong and signpost me away from danger, I’d give them the information they need today. But first, they’d need to start demonstrating how they’re going to use my information to help me live long and prosper. Like any relationship, this would need to happen incrementally over time. Until they demonstrate that they genuinely care and want to understand me and act in my best interest, then I’m more inclined to keep everything buttoned up fairly tight.
What about you?