GlobalData Plc

Underwriting life insurance with a selfie

Facial analytics technology that is able to estimate life expectancy from a selfie could be the future of life insurance underwriting.

Lapetus Solutions, a US-based science and tech growth company, has developed technology that combines cloud computing with facial analytics and bio-demographic data to estimate life expectancy. The company has developed a product called Chronos especially for the life insurance industry. In order to estimate an individual’s lifespan the customer simply takes a selfie and answers a few questions about themselves.

Facial analytics is able to scan hundreds of points on an individual’s face in order to extract information including body mass index, physiological age, and rate of aging. The technology is also being developed to identify early signs of disease such as diabetes or heart disease, and to detect if an individual has ever smoked.

Facial analytics that can predict life expectancy could revolutionize life insurance underwriting, as the technology may prove to be more accurate in predicting risk than current methods. It could also make the process of applying for policies more streamlined and efficient by reducing the number of questions individuals are asked and removing the need for medical examinations.

However, the technology is likely to face obstacles. Customers may feel uncomfortable sharing a selfie with their insurer, which could impact the success of implementing Chronos and similar solutions. And fraud could prove problematic; for example, could an individual use another person’s photograph? Lapetus has considered this by verifying selfies against an individual’s driving license, but what about those who do not drive? In addition, the program is able to detect makeup but not plastic surgery, and there could also be potential issues with Photoshop or manipulated pictures.

Nevertheless, the potential of the technology cannot be ignored, and this type of solution has the potential to transform the underwriting process for life insurers in the future.

By Danielle Cripps, General Insurance Analyst

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