Can A Facebook Post Lead To A Rise In Your Insurance?

By Staff Reporter - 21 May '19 11:22AM

Insurance costs can quickly spiral out of control, with many families regularly rating insurance as one of the things they're most concerned about. This naturally leads many people to strive for the lowest insurance rates possible, with any rise in their insurance being a serious threat to their economic well being. Despite the increased focus on saving money on insurance in recent years, however, few people have been paying attention to how their social media habits could come back to bite them.

Can a Facebook post lead to a rise in your insurance? Here's everything we know about how insurance companies are using social media to determine the future of the industry.

Insurance companies are already browsing social media

The idea that insurance companies will soon be trawling through social media posts in an effort to analyze your risk-rate isn't some far-off fantasy; insurance companies are already browsing popular social media platforms in an effort to determine who is and isn't cheating on their policies. Those who are collecting workers compensation but post pictures and videos of themselves going around the town on the weekends are likely to find themselves quickly busted. Law firms have been detailing the way that insurance fraudsters have been busted by social media since the early 2000's.

Soon, however, insurance companies will be going a step farther and will find it necessary to browse your social media history to gain an idea of how responsible and susceptible to disease or injury you are. Using a mixture of human employees, who view your publicly accessible pages and algorithms, which sort through your entire digital history, insurance companies may be able to determine if you're susceptible to certain risks on the basis of what you've recently posted.

Making a post about riding your motorcycle without a helmet on Facebook, for instance, could lead a life insurance provider to view you as a greater risk to yourself and others around you. Furthermore, frequently posting about your happy hour endeavors and trips to the bar could lead some to question your overall health. In general, risky and like-inducing content that's popular on social media pages could come to cost you dearly by depriving you of a good insurance deal.

The Wall Street Journal recently detailed how the state of New York became the first to issue guidance on how to use algorithms to comb through social media posts, and it's becoming clear that this trend will grow more popular sooner rather than later. As this becomes a hallmark of the insurance industry, digital users everywhere may find it necessary to change their behavior in order to cut back on the costs of insurance.

Social media analysis at scale is still expensive

Those who are worried about their recent Facebook post nonetheless have reasons to believe that there's some time yet before insurance companies gain the ability to monitor social media feeds at scale. Social media analysis at scale is still ludicrously expensive, with a number of human actors being required to assist algorithms and make sense of their feedback as they crawl through literally millions of posts in a heartbeat. Spending valuable company resources and the energy of employees on figuring out if cheap auto insurance in Ontario shouldn't go to customers who are taking risky trips to far-off places could prove to be a ridiculous strategy for some insurance providers.

As the technology needed to analyze social media content at scale becomes cheaper and easier to use, however, insurance providers will have plenty of reasons to go online in their pursuit of fraudsters and heightened risks. This may lead many to attempt to post "good behavior" on social media in an effort to secure their digital reputation and get lower insurance rates. Nonetheless, there are plenty of reasons to believe that trading away your personal information for economic perks carries certain risks not worth pursuing.

Demystifying the world of online privacy will be necessary in the future, as insurance customers need to understand that giving away their personal information in exchange for perks from companies is a risky endeavor that could easily backfire. Whatever it is you're thinking about posting to Facebook, remember that it lasts forever once it's on the internet. Insurance providers aren't yet crawling the web in search for damaging content that they can use to gauge your rates, but in the future automated programs could easily scour your profiles in search of harmful behavior.

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