Run for Your Life: The Ethics of Behavioral Tracking in Insurance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, insurance companies have begun tracking their customers’ behaviors and price premiums accordingly. Based on the Market-Failures Approach as well as the Justice-Failures Approach, I provide an ethical analysis of the use of tracking technologies in the insurance industry. I focus on the use of telematics in car insurance and on the use of fitness tracking in life insurance. The use of tracking has some important benefits to policyholders and insurers alike: it reduces moral hazard and fraud, increases actuarial fairness, and incentivizes safe behavior. These benefits, however, are outweighed by significant moral objections. First, the use of tracking technologies significantly undermines the fairness of the interaction between insurance companies and policyholders. Specifically, the use of tracking eliminates information asymmetries, but in such a way that favors insurers exclusively. Furthermore, tracked behaviors and the ability to choose to behave safely are highly correlated with other variables such as income. Therefore, tracking-based insurance relies on and exacerbates existing inequalities and injustices, which undermines the benefits that tracking is supposed to introduce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-682
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Fairness
  • Fitness tracking
  • Insurance
  • Justice failures
  • Market failures
  • Telematics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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