Accepted Paper:

Domesticating digital insurance  


Maiju Tanninen (University of Tampere)

Paper short abstract:

Digital insurance, which utilizes sensors to track and influence insured's behaviour, has become increasingly common. In my presentation, I discuss the effects of insurtech-based governance and analyse the ways the policyholders domesticate digital insurance in their everyday practices.

Paper long abstract:

Recently, there have been great expectations for Big Data to revolutionize the insurance industry, for example, by providing more accurate means to calculate risk and set premiums. In this presentation, I analyse one of these data economy prospects, digital life insurance, which utilizes activity wristbands and other wearable devices to track and influence the behaviour of the insured. As technology rapidly changes, it is unclear how the digitalization of insurance affects the insurance logic and the life-style management insurance companies conduct. Furthermore, there is no research on how the policyholders use digital insurance in everyday life. Based on multifaceted qualitative data including focus group discussions, interviews and participant observation, I discuss the effects of insurtech-based governance and analyse the ways the insured domesticate digital life insurance in their everyday practices. I demonstrate that digital life insurance entails ethical norms of good health and prudent action which aim to influence the (health) practices of the insured. However, the policyholders do not simply adopt these ethical norms but they reinterpret and transform them in the domestication process.

Panel G03
Technologies that count: big data and social order