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In spring 2010, accounting firm Deloitte sampled 60,000 of Aviva USA’s recent applicants for life insurance. It built a predictive model that, instead of relying on an applicant’s check-up with a doctor, used medical histories, industry-shared data from past applications, and consumer data – such as income and favourite TV shows – from profiling firm Equifax. Deloitte tested half of the sample with traditional underwriting methods, half with the predictive model. According to John Currier, chief actuary for Aviva, “the use of third-party data was persuasive across the board.”

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