He was responding to Kevin Burnham, protection director at Charles Derby, who asked a panel of speakers which included James and Liss Systems sales and marketing director Guy Williams whether the current enviornment is creating a group of have and have nots.
Burnham asked: “With biometrics and information on healthy lifestyles being more available, does that leave us at a point where you have the other group who don’t enage in that?
“You’ve got a healthy group and a less healthy group and that then pushes the price up. Does this forcecast a two tier system in future?”
James responded: “Let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve already got a two tier system. Healthy lives are already coming through and getting a tremendous rate and the amount of people being rated is high.”
“Whether we have two tiers, seven tiers, 20 tiers, that’s the way underwriting has been done for many years. We’re trying to move away from that.”
Williams responded that the industry’s appetite for data is largely a good thing however.
He said: “I think it’s valuable. I think we have to work very carefully with the data that we’ve got. One the one hand i’m all for using big data but we’ve got to be careful that we’re not creating these two tier systems.
“My experience is the takeout rate drops off as the price rises so as an industry we need to come up with solutions. We need to use underwriting to make it easy to buy but we don’t want to make it prohibitive.”
James added: “I would expect to go to the market and get a product for me, for my health, and is there anything wrong with that?
“I think biometrics are here, they are coming, they are going to be used far more in the future.”