What we think

Our take on issues present and future.

  • Jigglypuff or out of puff?

    Do you know a Jigglypuff from a Squirtle? If not then you may have missed one of the biggest things of 2016. Pokémon GO was one of the most popular apps of 2016 with over 500 million downloads.   It is a free, location-based, augmented reality game developed by Niantic in collaboration with Nintendo through the Pokémon company. Players use the GPS capability of their mobile device to find, capture
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  • Wearable devices: product development and continuous underwriting

    We have written about wearable devices several times now and have concentrated mainly on the user’s perspective. Now we write about how insurers are incorporating wearables and the data they collect into products.   One such insurer is MLC in Australia which launched its ‘Life Insurance on Track’ product in November 2015. The key component of the programme is a Garmin Vivosmart HR fitness tracker which needs to be paired
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  • Wearable technology – two different perspectives

    We have written before about wearables from a number of different angles, including Gary’s perspective as an owner in August 2015. Time for an update.   It’s now almost eighteen months since I bought the Fitbit HR. Let’s start with some of my numbers: Steps taken: ranged from a daily low of 5,500 to a highest of 35,000 in a day (which included a gym visit and a full-on day
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  • How do you sleep?

    In our articles on wearables and insurance products we highlight that some insurers, in addition to the step count measured by a wearable device, also use sleep duration as one of their criteria for policyholders to gain premium discounts.   Sleep plays a vital role in mental and physical well-being, quality of life and safety. Sleep helps the brain to function correctly and during sleep the brain prepares for the
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  • The real digital health?

    So far in our articles we have been pretty positive about all aspects of e-health, digital health, e-medicine, wearable devices, etc, and what these will bring. And of course Gary is a pretty enthusiastic Fitbit wearer. But there are a few potential ‘trip hazards’ with underwriting significance.   Are wearables really going to be a rich source – or even a reasonably useful source – of data for risk evaluation
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  • Serum cholesterol: mounting evidence against?

    The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has just published a study the findings of which suggest that replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid does not reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)1.   Using data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment (MCE) which was a double-blind randomised trial conducted in the late 1960s/early 1970s, researchers found that linoleic-rich vegetable oil effectively reduced cholesterol levels but without any
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  • Is the tail now wagging the dog?

    Maybe this is a sign of how far rules engines have come.   Historically an insurer’s underwriting philosophy was documented in an underwriting manual, provided by a reinsurer or produced by the company itself. Sometimes the reinsurer’s philosophy would be supplemented by variations drawn up by the insurer and stored on the underwriting intranet or on paper memos.   Then underwriting engines came along and the job began of producing
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  • On the cusp of a revolution?

    The process of life and disability underwriting varies from market to market. Those variations as they exist today have been driven by the prevalence of risk factors and the availability of reliable risk information, and not a little by history and culture (of consumers and of the industry itself) too. That differences in practice and process will persist is certain, as is that markets will develop at varying pace.  
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  • Data and technology – there’s no escaping it

    Yes, another article on data and technology. We make no apology for this: it seems to be the subject of the moment within our industry (no bad thing) and we ourselves believe it is something for which insurers, reinsurers and distributors – indeed all stakeholders – need to have a strategy. Technology and its implications – and they are far-reaching – should be firmly on your radar.   First, consider
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  • Wearable technology – a user’s perspective (2)

    Gary has now had his Fitbit HR for about three months and, as promised, here is an update.   As I reported before, the device really does show how much variation there is in my activity levels. It captures steps taken, miles walked, calories burned, heart rate, minutes of activity and sleep pattern. The software that comes with it gives the ability to download data on a monthly basis, so
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