US insurance firm offers trackable Fitbits for lower premiums

Hit your step goal for 15% off your insurance premium
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Another US insurance firm has hopped on the wearable bandwagon, and is offering customers a Fitbit to track their exercise.

John Hancock Life Insurance will discount insurance premiums for those hitting their step and activity goals, enabling customers to save up to 15%. The Fitbit is set to transmit the data of customers back to the insurance company, which will rank their performance over the year and trigger a rebate.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers

As well as savings, active customers will receive perks such as half price hotel stays and Amazon gift vouchers. Every customer gets points for their activity, with the aim to hit three medium workouts a week.

It's based on a similar system by Vitality, which runs in Europe and South Africa, which uses a host of data, including location information from your phone to ensure you're going to the gym, to offer discounts on premiums.

In an interview with the New York Times, John Hancock's president, Michael Doughty, said that this new way of selling insurance could reinvigorate the market, which has stagnated over the last decade.

"It has been a slow to no-growth industry for a long time," he told the Times. "It is crying out for innovation and for someone to try to reinvent the product to make it more relevant."

For many, it's a small step forward to the dystopian vision of insurance companies invading every aspect of your life.

We've already covered the dangers of wearable data, and the potential for a loss of liberty – but having 15% wiped off your annual health premium for leading a healthier life is an appealing proposition.

Would you let your insurance company track your exercise for a big discount? Let us know in the comments below.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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