Health insurers are revealed as some of the most persistent social media followers because most people say much more about themselves on their social media pages than they do on insurance application and claim forms.
Insurers are determined to keep their costs down by minimising their pay outs and social media is a tool that monitors risk by searching out information about lifestyle.
For instance, unguarded remarks about repeated drunken nights out, risky hobbies like rock-climbing and other nuggets about health and diet can help an insurer work out the costs of cover.
They can also help claims management if you say something out of place about an illness or condition you may suffer.
Many Facebook fanatics have found out to their cost that employers investigate their social media offerings – including risqué photos and status updates that contradict phone calls to work with excuses about not turning up due to sickness.
Even online images or glimpses in to your home in a web cam chat room alert insurers to lax attitudes about security.
If you have a subsequent theft or break in after highlighting an expensive possession online, the insurer may try and attribute a higher degree of blame to you – and reflect this in a reduced pay out.
Telling the world you are away from home on a business trip or holiday in a status update also provides insurers with more information than you would generally like them to know.
Social media may encourage everyone to share the intimate details of their lives online with anyone who may be interested, but the problem is those scant details include breadcrumbs of information that insurers, employers and fraudsters can feed on to make life a virtual misery more than a real pleasure.
To keep health and home insurance premiums low it pays to be discrete…and make sure that you have your privacy settings finely tuned!