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Dawson and Rosenthal
Dawson and Rosenthal

Facebook blocks insurer from using posts to set premiums

Insurance companies typically set premiums for individual customers on a variety of factors, including aspects of that individual’s life: what neighborhood they live in, their driving history and so on. One company tried to go so far as to use customers’ Facebook accounts against them — until Facebook ordered them to stop.

According to Slate, a British insurance company had planned to examine the Facebook accounts of first-time car owners for “personality traits” that would supposedly help insurers determine what to charge them in premiums. Among the things the company planned to look for on customers’ Facebook pages were signs they were “conscientious and well-organised” based on their writing style and social habits.

What do your Facebook posts have to do with your likelihood of getting into a car accident? Not much, according to Facebook. The company’s policy forbids the use of its user data “to make decisions about eligibility” for applications for services.

After Facebook blocked the insurance company’s project, the insurer called the scheme a “beta product” and said it would launch it with “reduced functionality” in line with Facebook’s guidelines.

This story is a good reminder that insurance companies’ first priority is to maximize profits. Honest insurance companies can be hugely profitable, but some companies try to avoid paying claims by making bad-faith denials, or by deliberately making lowball offers.

If this has happened to you, you will need the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you fight for your rightful benefits and stand up to a dishonest insurance company.