Image source: Garmin

Is Garmin selling your data to insurers? Should you be worried?

Garmin has recently stepped into a new arena: insurance. The company’s initiative to partner with insurance providers, leveraging the vast trove of health and activity data collected by its devices, has sparked a debate on Reddit about the company potentially selling your data. Here’s what you need to know.

Garmin’s pitch: Leveraging data for insurance transformation

Garmin’s official website highlights its ambition to “drive insurance industry transformation” through its wearable data. They propose using their API and SDK connections to enable insurance partners to offer more dynamic and innovative coverage plans that factor in real-time health and activity data.

The company envisions a future where wearables become integral to insurance programs, offering a range of benefits. Garmin believes this data can help engage customers with interactive app experiences and value-added services beyond traditional insurance claims. 

Garmin insurance connection

They also see the potential to incentivize healthier lifestyles through personalized plans and potential premium discounts. Moreover, the data could enable early detection of illness and disease, utilizing wearable sensors and algorithms to identify potential health risks like diabetes, sleep apnea, or hypertension. This could also help refine risk profiles through continuous physiological data, potentially leading to more accurate premiums.

Sounds innocuous enough, right? Well, do you really want Garmin to sell your data to your insurance provider? What’s going on?

Reddit reacts: A spectrum of opinions

A long thread has sprung up on Reddit discussing Garmin’s venture. Opinions range from enthusiastic support to outright skepticism and privacy concerns. Some users see the potential for tailored insurance plans that reward healthy behaviors. This could lead to lower premiums for those who actively track their fitness and health. 

The prospect of gamifying insurance through wearable data could motivate people to prioritize their well-being. Furthermore, the ability to identify potential health issues early on could lead to better health outcomes and potentially lower healthcare costs in the long run.

However, the biggest worry among users is how Garmin will protect their personal data. Some are concerned about the extent of data sharing with insurers and the potential for misuse or unauthorized access. Others question the accuracy of wearable data for making insurance decisions, especially considering potential discrepancies between real-world health conditions and tracked data. 

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

There are also concerns that insurance companies could use this data to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions or less healthy lifestyles, potentially leading to higher premiums or denial of coverage. 

But the consensus is that this is only for users who want to sign up for the potential insurance benefits. And that it’s entirely opt-in.

Should you be worried?

Based on Garmin’s privacy policy, the company unequivocally states, “We don’t sell your personal data to anyone.” This includes insurance companies. However, they do share data under specific circumstances, primarily when you give explicit consent or when it’s required by law.

Here’s a breakdown of Garmin’s data-sharing practices according to their privacy policy:

  • Data shared with content and feature providers: With your consent, they might share information like location, direction, and speed with third parties that enhance features like traffic or parking information.
  • Data shared within Garmin: Being a global company, data may be transferred between different Garmin entities, but it remains under the protection of their privacy policy.
  • Data shared with service providers: Garmin uses third parties for services like order fulfillment, payment processing, and email communication. These providers only have access to the data necessary to perform their specific functions.
  • Data shared for legal reasons: Garmin may share data when legally obligated, such as complying with law enforcement requests or court orders.

The key takeaway is that Garmin’s insurance initiatives seem to rely heavily on your explicit consent. Your personal data is not shared with insurers unless you actively opt into a program and agree to the terms.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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