Insurers have long used blood and urine tests to assess people's health but data-gathering companies have such extensive files on consumers that some insurers are exploring whether data can reveal as much as a lab analysis of bodily fluids. As reported on WSJ.com, research showed that a new predictive modeling system, based partly on consumer-marketing data, was 'persuasive' in its ability to mimic traditional techniques.
"This data increasingly is gathered online, often with consumers only vaguely aware that separate bits of information about them are being collected and collated in ways that can be surprisingly revealing. The growing trade in personal information is the subject of a Wall Street Journal investigation into online privacy.
"A key part of the Aviva test, run by Deloitte Consulting LLP, was estimating a person's risk for illnesses such as high blood pressure and depression. Deloitte's models assume that many diseases relate to lifestyle factors such as exercise habits and fast-food diets."