How FaceApp and Life Insurance Intersect

What started as a celebrity-fueled trend is quickly becoming another focal point in the ongoing conversation about privacy in the digital era. Even those living under a rock are struggling to escape the FaceApp craze. The mobile photo-editing app that uses AI-driven biometric tech to render realistic transformations of faces has been downloaded by more than 100 million people on the Google Store alone and ranks #1 with Apple users. A few days after we all started using the app to post digitally-aged selfies, the privacy concerns emerged.

The integration of biometric tech into our mobile devices (among other facets of our daily lives) is nothing “new,” at least in technological terms. The facial recognition software that powers FaceApp is also used to unlock our mobile devices, aid law enforcement, and is being tested by the service and retail industry for enhanced consumer experience. We can include the insurance industry into the growing list of those getting in on the action.

As covered in a previous edition of Marketing Corner, insuretech company Lapetus Solutions in 2017 rolled out a software platform that makes use of facial recognition and biometrics for several insurance-related purposes. The platform is designed to not only boost security and prevent fraud, but can reportedly determine the longevity, health, and overall risk of a policy applicant. By scanning the image of an applicant’s face, the software creates a profile based on biological, physical, genetic, and behavioral information. This data is intended to give insurance carriers a comprehensive assessment of the applicant’s life expectancy and mortality risk. For the consumer, this can streamline the application process by foregoing a trip to the doctor, and instead use a selfie and questionnaire. As recently as two years ago, the platform was in the “coming soon” stage. Today, it’s here.

Legal & General was the first carrier to implement the software into their Term Life application process. The company’s “SelfieQuote” service was launched in order to estimate age, gender, and BMI in order to provide a quick and easy life insurance quote. The carrier’s website states that the self-quoting experiment is in beta testing phase. However, the actual selfie submission portal is not currently online.

That said, the selfie quote is becoming a reality for insurers. The simplicity and affordability are undoubtedly a selling point for younger consumers, who tend to jump headfirst into emerging tech, and favor apps over websites. However, the privacy concerns surrounding facial recognition software could be another life insurance objection for agents to overcome, especially when dealing with baby boomers and at least a portion of Gen-Xers. Millennials, stereotypically known for taking and posting selfies for just about any occasion, are much more likely to snap another for a life insurance quote.

It’s important for agents and advisors to think about the pros and cons of selfie-quoting technology. The chances are high that we’re only a few years away at most from this becoming commonplace, so it might benefit you to get a little insight before that happens. Next time you’re sitting with a client, find a way to work the topic into your conversation. Getting a sense of how your target market feels about the technology will help you prepare for the day it joins your current list of products and services.