Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other Social Networks – Risky Business?

By Roger Foisy on April 7th, 2011

When it comes to companies providing you with insurance, the job of the ‘underwriter’ is to assess the risk you present to the insurance company should they decide to insure you. Things like age, drinking, smoking, medical history, family history of medical issues etc… may be taken into consideration when determining how “risky” a client you may be. This also determines how much your insurance premiums will be.  Insurance companies at the end of the day are looking to make money and to do so means paying out the least amount of money possible.

These days, beyond the medical and application form/questionnaire, insurance companies are turning to social networks to obtain further information. Is your profile open for others to see? Do you post things like your interests in bungee jumping or sky diving? Do your pictures show you smoking when you told the insurance company you didn’t?  How about your latest “party” or “binge drinking episode”? Posting personal information on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr Linked-in, MySpace, Twitter or other social venues may provide the insurance company with additional information to determine you are a higher risk client than suggested by your medical exam or application.

Whether you’re filing a claim against an insurance company or simply applying for insurance coverage, it has become relatively easy for insurance companies to find your personal information and what is being shared about you online by friends and family. Remember to ask yourself before you post something: “Who else is watching what I’m posting? Am I providing information online that others could use against me?”.  Those wild weekend parties at the cottage may just come back to haunt you.

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