Physical activity measured by wearable sensors can effectively assess mortality risk
Munich Re Life US finds that there is strong evidence that physical activity, as measured by steps per day, is a powerful predictor of mortality and may be especially effective in identifying high mortality risk for sedentary behavior. In a recently-published white paper, Munich Re assessed the effectiveness of physical activity as measured by wearable sensors in stratifying the mortality risk profile of a United States population-based dataset provided by Vivametrica, a health analytics company.
Wearable sensors measure the level of physical activity through step count and minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day. Munich Re’s analysis found that steps per day can effectively segment mortality risk even after controlling for age, gender, smoking status and various health indicators.
“Vivametrica has complied a rich dataset comprised of multiple clinical research studies. Through our collaboration, Munich Re data scientists and actuaries were able to apply a broad set of analytic techniques to assess the value of this emerging source of data. Steps per day provides additional segmentation of mortality even after considering traditional underwriting factors such as smoking status, BMI, blood pressure and other health indicators. As insurance companies look to incorporate activity data into risk selection, Munich Re’s analytic staff will advise on underwriting guidelines and actuarial assumptions,” said Sandra Chefitz, 2nd vice president, integrated analytics at Munich Re.
Insurers looking to incorporate new underwriting data in evaluating risks or improve customer engagement may want to consider using physical activity metrics from wearable sensors at various touchpoints in the life insurance process.
“We’re excited by the findings of our analysis with Vivametrica and see many opportunities to employ this information into risk assessment for life and disability insurance. As activity data captured by wearable devices and smartphones becomes increasingly ubiquitous it becomes easier to incorporate this emerging source of evidence to streamline underwriting and expand insurability,” said Mike Taht, executive vice president, research, analytics and underwriting.
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Munich American Reassurance Company—Munich Re Life US, founded in 1959, is one of the largest reinsurers in the U.S. offering life and disability reinsurance to insurance companies throughout the United States. The company also writes group, credit and other reinsurance products. Headquartered in Atlanta, with offices in Chicago and New York, the company is licensed, accredited or authorized in all fifty states; Washington, D.C.; Guam; and Puerto Rico.
Munich Re stands for exceptional solution-based expertise, consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity. This is how Munich Re creates value for clients, shareholders and staff. In the financial year 2016, the Group – which combines primary insurance and reinsurance under one roof – achieved a profit of €2.6bn. It operates in all lines of insurance, with over 43,000 employees throughout the world. With premium income of around €28bn from reinsurance alone, it is one of the world’s leading reinsurers. Especially when clients require solutions for complex risks, Munich Re is a much sought-after risk carrier. Its primary insurance operations are concentrated mainly in ERGO, one of the leading insurance groups in Germany and Europe. ERGO is represented in over 30 countries worldwide and offers a comprehensive range of insurances, provision products and services. In 2016, ERGO posted premium income of €16.0bn. Munich Re’s global investments (excluding insurance-related investments) amounting to €219bn are managed by MEAG, which also makes its competence available to private and institutional investors outside the Group.
Vivametrica is a health analytics company that provides measurement of mortality and chronic disease risk using digital biomarkers developed from personal sensor data. Vivametrica was started in 2013 by physicians and researchers with expertise in big data, physical activity, wearable devices, and evidence-based health measurement. Members of the team are also founders of the Wearable Health Lab at Stanford University. Vivametrica’s patent-pending algorithms are based on the world’s largest known population-based dataset including physical activity. Analyses are used by life and health insurers to streamline underwriting, personalize insurance products, and provide engagement tools to customers. Vivametrica’s device-agnostic platform also supports health and wellness organizations.
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