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Physical activity a “powerful predictor” of mortality risk: Munich Re

5th February 2018 - Author: Staff Writer

A Munich Re study has found strong evidence that physical activity, as measured by steps per day, is a powerful predictor of mortality and may be especially effective in identifying high mortality risk for sedentary behaviour.

Munich Re assessed the effectiveness of physical activity – as measured by wearable sensors – in stratifying the mortality risk profile of a U.S. population-based data-set provided by Vivametrica, a health analytics company, and found that steps per day can effectively measure mortality risk even after controlling for age, gender, smoking status and various health indicators.

Sandra Chefitz, 2nd vice president, integrated analytics at Munich Re, said; “Vivametrica has compiled a rich dataset comprised of multiple clinical research studies.

“Through our collaboration, Munich Re data scientists and actuaries were able to apply a broad set of analytic techniques to assess the value of this emerging source of data.

“Steps per day provides additional segmentation of mortality even after considering traditional underwriting factors such as smoking status, BMI, blood pressure and other health indicators.

“As insurance companies look to incorporate activity data into risk selection, Munich Re’s analytic staff will advise on underwriting guidelines and actuarial assumptions.”

The assessment of impact of exercise on mortality risk suggests re/insurers looking to incorporate new underwriting data in evaluating risks consider using physical activity metrics from wearable sensors at various touchpoints in the life insurance process.

Mike Taht, executive vice president, research, analytics and underwriting, said; “as activity data captured by wearable devices and smartphones becomes increasingly ubiquitous it becomes easier to incorporate this emerging source of evidence to streamline underwriting and expand insurability.

“We’re excited by the findings of our analysis with Vivametrica and see many opportunities to employ this information into risk assessment for life and disability insurance.”

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