Could a selfie affect your life insurance?

One day soon your selfie might be telling people much more than whether or not you’re having a bad hair day.

New technology is being used to scientifically examine selfies to evaluate whether you are a good candidate for life insurance.

Facial analytics

Lapetus Solutions – an American company from Wilmington, North Carolina – are working with several insurance companies using facial analytics and other data to estimate life expectancy.

The system is called Chronos and Janet Anderson of Lapetus says it can be used to determine someone’s life expectancy from a simple selfie.

Output

Said Janet: “The client uploads a selfie and answers a few questions and then we take that info and analyse it and are able to produce an output of a life expectancy.

“Taking a look at 350 points on the face, and thousands of regions, we assess for BMI, gender and are able to detect, for example, if there was smoking in a person’s history.”

Lapetus co-founder, Mark Ricanek, added: “Your face is something you wear all your life, and it tells a very unique story about you.”

How it works

You would upload a selfie to the insurance company and answer a series of health and other questions as part of the application process. The insurer would then use the program’s advanced facial analytics technology to scan hundreds of points on your face.

From that data the company would be able to extract information like body mass index (BMI), physiological age (how old you look) and whether you are ageing faster or slower than your actual age.

Detect

It verifies your identity from the photograph on your driving licence and can detect makeup, but not plastic surgery.  However, Lampetus said if there was ‘an issue’ with the uploaded image it would let the insurer know so additional questions could be asked.

The decision on whether or not to approve an application would depend on a combination of the Chronos data with the answers to the application questions.

Speed up

Janet Anderson said the program’s purpose is to speed up the approval process for life insurance.

“You can go through our platform in less than 10 minutes and during that time we can provide that information to an insurance carrier,” she said.

Online

Insurers use life expectancy estimates when deciding on policy approval and pricing decisions.  Lapetus claims Chronos could be used to allow customers to buy life insurance online in just 10 minutes without the need to take a medical examination.

For the future, the firm is looking at how Chronos might be used to detect early signs of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or dementia.