“Social media has opened up new opportunities for insurers to collect data about their policyholders,” says Peter Olyott, CEO of financial services provider, Indwe Risk Services (Indwe).
“With the vast amount of personal information that is shared on social media platforms, insurers and unfortunately others, can use this information to better understand their policyholders’ behaviour, lifestyle, and risk factors.”
“By being aware of how your social media behaviour can impact your insurance risk profile, you can protect yourself against disputed claims,” says Olyott.
If you post pictures or updates on social media that reveal expensive items in your home, such as jewellery or electronics, it could make your home a target for theft and could potentially impact your home insurance coverage.
Posting about your driving habits, such as speeding or driving under the influence, could lead to increased motor insurance premiums or even policy cancellation.
When it comes to your health condition, posting about it on social media could potentially impact your health insurance coverage, as insurers may use this information to assess your risk level and adjust your premiums accordingly.
Equally, your life insurance coverage and premiums could be impacted if you post about your high-risk activities, such as extreme sports or skydiving.
Tips for protecting your insurance coverage
Olyott gives five tips for protecting your insurance coverage while using social media:
- Be mindful of the information you share on social media. Avoid posting about expensive items or high-risk activities. If you do feel the need to share your lifestyle with your social media network, try to do so after the event and not while you are making your way to your next holiday destination.
- Adjust your privacy settings on social media platforms to limit the amount of personal information that is visible to the public.
- Review your insurance policy and speak to your insurance provider about how social media could impact your coverage.
- Be honest with your insurance provider about any changes in your lifestyle or behaviour that could impact your coverage, such as a new job or a new hobby.
- Be very careful of sharing posts through your known network. Remember people in your network may share the posts with their own networks growing the number of potential viewers who may take exception to the content being shared. Also, be careful to comment on or like contentious posts. The legal framework in South Africa dealing with social media content has changed and exposes the user to potential consequences of posting and/or sharing inappropriate content. Inappropriate content can include, amongst others, racial, gender, religious, political or sexual content.
Sharing personal information on social media can have unintended consequences on your insurance. By being mindful of the information you share and reviewing your insurance policy regularly, you can help to protect yourself and your coverage.