re: The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
"Would an insurance company pay to know if its health insurance clients keep only unhealthy food in their refrigerators, so it could mitigate a higher risk of health problems with higher premiums? Count on it."
In my experience, while you could make a case that this is true, most insurance companies understand that such an invasion of privacy would result in massive blowback against them and are unlikely to pursue it. A consultant told me once a story of a health insurer that ran a pilot program with a grocery store to see what data they could glean from the store's loyalty card. The company found that using the data from the loyalty program was as useful for underwriting purposes as a blood test. But the company decided not to change its practices due to concerns over the optics of it.
As far as connected cars go and the impact on insurance rates, so far very few companies are going to a purely "pay as you drive" model, where the data from the in-car device decides how low or high your premium is. Those companies tend to be marketed towards populations that have trouble obtaining insurance anyway, as sort of a "last resort." Instead, most companies are offering only discounts for people who opt in to the program Gă÷ if your driving shows that you are a nutcase, the worst that happens is that you don't get the discount.
In fact, I think it's more likely that the scenario you describe above Gă÷ where a health insurer gets information on the food in the refrigerator of one of its customers Gă÷ would be used in a similar manner. For example, if you tend to select healthier foods, you get a premium break, if you load up on junk, everything stays the same.
There is still a lot of balancing to be done between insurers, policyholders, and regulators to figure out what exactly is appropriate use of these new data sources.
Insurance & Technology