Your Pregnancy App May Be Selling Your Data – to Your Boss

Rachel Wells | Glamour

Tracking health data has gotten intimate. Thanks to the booming femtech industry, there are now dozens of fertility and pregnancy apps like Ovia, which give moms-to-be an easy way to input daily health updates during their pregnancy journeys. The apps, featuring colors like purple and blue, create a fun and welcoming environment to track women’s most personal data—sexual activity, menstrual cycles, fertility, pregnancy symptoms, dates for delivery, and even pregnancy loss—in a free, user-friendly mobile app. The idea that these apps might be selling your data isn’t new. But what if your data wasn’t going to some third-party advertiser but rather someone much closer to you—like your boss?

Earlier this week The Washington Post reported that Ovia Health, the parent company behind apps for fertility, pregnancy, and parenting, is selling users’ data to their employers. The Post spoke with Diana Diller, a 39-year-old event planner in Los Angeles who was using Ovia during her pregnancy to log daily activity such as bodily functions and sex drive. Her employer, Activision Blizzard, a video game company, was following along.

Activation Blizzard is part of a program offered by Ovia Health where employers can pay to offer employees a special version of the app as an employee benefit. The catch? The company gains access to the aggregated, anonymized data shared by its employees. Milt Ezzard, vice president of global benefits for Activision Blizzard, told the Post that offering “pregnancy programs such as Ovia help the company keep skilled women.” But experts worry employers could use the information to increase or decrease health coverage depending on what they see in the data. There’s also the fear that companies could use incredibly intimate details like whether or not a woman was having premature birth or suffering a miscarriage in order to make business decisions. “The health information is sensitive but could also play a critical role in boosting women’s well-being and companies’ bottom lines,” Paris Wallace, chief executive of Ovia Health told the Post, pointing to rising rates of premature birth and maternal death as the reasons they want to sell this information to employers.

“It feels like a very big breach of privacy,” says Brianna Bell, 29, a writer based in Guelph, Ontario. “It makes me feel uncomfortable, and it feels like this company has preyed on women who are in the most exciting and vulnerable time of their life.” Bell used Ovia’s pregnancy and parenting apps for 18 months without knowing the company could sell her information. (Ovia’s consumer apps—the free-to-download Ovia Fertility, Ovia Pregnancy, and Ovia Parenting—“do not share any data with employers,” a representative of the company said in a statement provided to Glamour. But the apps’ terms of service do state that by agreeing to use the product, users grant Ovia the right to “utilize and exploit” their anonymous personal data for research, marketing purposes, or sale to third parties.)

The idea of your data—even if it has been stripped of your name—floating around out there for use is unsettling. But is there really anything to worry about? Users need to opt in to Ovia’s employer programs like the one offered by Activation Blizzard, according to the company, and of course, you can always choose not to input certain data. “An employer then only receives population-level data once a certain threshold of users has been reached,” Ovia told Glamour, adding that the app’s makers work only with large companies to reduce the risk of a specific pregnant woman being identified in the office. “We are not reporting personal, intimate information like cycle data or pregnancy symptoms to employers,” the company says.

But that’s not much of a comfort to many women. “It seems as though nowadays anyone can find any information they want on someone even if we think we’re in control of our data,” says Raz Pele, 30, who used Ovia’s fertility app for two years and the pregnancy app for six months, tracking information like her ovulation cycle and the dates of her period. Even with the limited information she put into the app, she isn’t comfortable with the idea of her employer, a large commercial real estate advisory firm, viewing it.

AXIS Re Names Andy Hottinger as President of EMEA LatAM

AXIS Re, the reinsurance business segment of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (“AXIS Capital”) (NYSE:AXS), today announced the appointment of Andy Hottinger as President of its EMEA LatAm division. Mr. Hottinger succeeds longtime AXIS Re colleague and EMEA LatAm President Jan Ekberg, who will retire in July following a 45-year career in the (re)insurance industry, which has included 15 years at AXIS.

“Jan has played a significant role in helping our reinsurance business grow from a start-up into a global player. Jan is a talented leader and a consummate professional, and he will always be a part of our family at AXIS.

In his new role, Mr. Hottinger will be part of the Company’s Reinsurance Leadership Team and will report directly to AXIS Re CEO Steve Arora.

“Andy has a deep understanding of our company’s strategy and values, as well as opportunities for future growth. He is a respected leader who has continually delivered high-quality results. His mix of technical expertise and people leadership skills will serve AXIS Re well as he assumes leadership of our important EMEA and LatAm reinsurance business. I look forward to working more closely with Andy as he joins the Reinsurance Leadership Team to help advance our ambition of achieving a leadership position in the global reinsurance market,” said Mr. Arora.

Mr. Hottinger has held a number of underwriting managerial roles within AXIS Re, most recently serving as Head of Property EMEA and, prior to that, Head of Engineering and Property Risk. He will be formally appointed to his new role on July 1, 2019, following Mr. Ekberg’s retirement.

“On behalf of all of AXIS, we are grateful to Jan for his tremendous contributions to our Company,” said Albert Benchimol, President and CEO of AXIS Capital. “Jan has played a significant role in helping our reinsurance business grow from a start-up into a global player. Jan is a talented leader and a consummate professional, and he will always be a part of our family at AXIS.”

About AXIS Capital

AXIS Capital, through its operating subsidiaries, is a global provider of specialty lines insurance and treaty reinsurance with shareholders’ equity at December 31, 2018, of $5 billion and locations in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Singapore, Middle East, Canada and Latin America. Its operating subsidiaries have been assigned a rating of “A+” (“Strong”) by Standard & Poor’s and “A+” (“Superior”) by A.M. Best. For more information about AXIS Capital, visit our website at www.axiscapital.com. Follow AXIS Capital on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About AXIS Re

AXIS Re – a business segment of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) – provides reinsurance to insurance companies on a worldwide basis, comprising catastrophe, property, professional lines, credit and surety, motor, general liability, engineering, marine, workers’ compensation, agriculture, and accident and health, as well as other highly specialized risk-transfer solutions. For more information about AXIS Re, please visit www.axiscapital.com/reinsurance.

Dutch art sleuth recovers Picasso stolen 20 years ago

By Mike Corder

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

AMSTERDAM _ A Dutch art detective said Tuesday that he has recovered a valuable painting by Pablo Picasso 20 years after it was stolen from a wealthy Saudi’s yacht in France.

Arthur Brand told The Associated Press that he took possession two weeks ago of the 1938 painting “Buste de Femme” after trailing it for years in Amsterdam.

Brand, a renowned sleuth whose previous finds include a pair of bronze horses sculpted for Adolf Hitler, has since handed over the painting, which he estimates to be worth around 25 million euros ($28 million), to an insurance company. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to the painting.

Brand said he knew it was the real thing as soon as he got his hands on it and peeled away two plastic bags covering the canvas.

“You know it’s a Picasso because there is some magic coming off it,” he said.

But that wasn’t the only reason he was convinced of its authenticity.

In cases of stolen art, he said, the back of a painting can tell experts more than the front.

He said that since the theft from a yacht moored in the swanky French Riviera port of Antibes, a number of forgeries had been offered to insurers and rejected.

“But a forger never knows how the back looks,” Brand said, without specifying what was there. “When I saw the back of the painting, I knew it was the real one.”

Brand began his latest hunt after hearing rumours about a Picasso stolen from a boat.

“Finally, I tracked somebody down who had had it in his possession 10 years ago and he told me which one it was,” he said.  “And then it still took me three years to get near it.”

Brand said the painting had circulated in the criminal underworld of the Dutch capital.

“It was used as some kind of money as payment for drug and arm deals,” he said.

Eventually a person who had the painting in their possession decided to turn it in and reached out to Brand.

Martin Finkelnberg, head of the Dutch national police’s art and antique criminality team, welcomed the recovery. No arrests have been made.

Finkelnberg told Dutch national daily De Volkskrant that having such a painting can be a burden and taking it to Brand is a way out.

“Done. Everybody happy,” Finkelnberg said. “The most important thing is that the artwork is back.”

Lloyd’s of London Will Name and Shame Sexual Harassment Culprits

By and 

Bloomberg

Lloyd’s of London will publicly name and shame anyone it bans from its insurance market for sexual harassment, according to Chief Executive Officer John Neal.

“When we do see instances of bad behavior, and let’s hope they are infrequent, we have got to be public and decisive about the action that we take,” Neal said in an interview on Wednesday. “People have got to be really clear that you cannot behave that way. Where we ban someone we should be very public about it.”

Neal was responding to a Bloomberg Businessweek article, published last week, which found a deep-seated culture of sexual misconduct in the London insurance market. Drawing on the experiences of 18 women, the report detailed an atmosphere of near-persistent harassment, ranging from lewd and suggestive comments to unwanted touching to sexual assault.

“This is not the Lloyd’s that I want to be part of,” Neal said. “We have got to ensure that everybody, whether it’s a woman or a man, should feel safe at any time of day doing anything that’s associated with the Lloyd’s market. I’m determined that will be the case.”

One of the women in the Bloomberg article described an experience in which a senior manager drunkenly attacked her in a pub right around the corner from Lloyd’s. Her employer convinced her it would be bad for her career to pursue a complaint. Other women who experienced similar abuse and had lodged formal complaints said their careers had suffered as a consequence.

Neal said it wasn’t within the jurisdiction of Lloyd’s to ban alcohol outside of its buildings, but added that he would no longer tolerate it on the premises and would eject anyone who was drunk.

Lloyd’s of London outlined a plan on Tuesday to address the allegations of harassment by setting up an independent whistleblower hotline and laying out potential lifetime bans for anyone found guilty of sexual harassment. The proposals were agreed upon at an emergency meeting of industry executives convened on Monday evening by Neal. Lloyd’s also committed to having an independent culture survey taken to identify the scale of the issue.

“While it’s an incredibly negative position to come from, you’ve written a story that has galvanized us into more action,” Neal said. “I think we have to use that as a rallying call.”

Woman cuts off own hand with circular saw in brutal insurance scam

A 21-year-old Slovenian woman deliberately cut off her own hand with a circular saw in an effort to cash in on an insurance claim, authorities say.

According to police, the unidentified woman’s family claimed she lost her hand as a result of an accident on their property, saying it happened when the woman was attempting to saw off tree branches. The family said the woman slipped while using the saw, severing her left hand.

Authorities told ABC News the woman had taken out five different insurance policies months before suffering the injury in January and had only made a few payments on each of the contracts. The woman would have allegedly stood to gain 400,000 euros (about CAD$602,000).

The woman was unemployed at the time and had no other source of income, ABC reported. A 29-year-old relative was also detained in the investigation.

“With one of her accomplices, she intentionally amputated her left hand, hoping to stage it as an accident,” Ljubljana police spokesman Valter Zrinski told ABC News.

Family members left the severed hand behind rather than bring it to the hospital to ensure the disability was permanent. However, the hand was recovered and doctors were able to sew it back on.

“Her hand is recovering well,” Zrinski said.

The woman faces up to eight years in prison.

–with a file from the Associated Press

Source: Global News

 

 

Tribal First Acquires Canada’s AFN Insurance Brokers

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar 7, 2019–Tribal First, a division of Alliant Underwriting Solutions, has acquired AFN Insurance Brokerage. The acquisition pairs Canada’s First Nations insurance leader with the largest provider of insurance solutions to Tribal Nations in the U.S., expanding Tribal First’s geographical reach and service profile.

 

“Tribal First is dedicated to providing customized insurance solutions to Native governments across North America,” said Sean McConlogue, President of Alliant Underwriting Solutions. “AFN brings a longstanding legacy of integrity and strength to our platform, and this alliance will enable us to provide powerful services and solutions that are new to the Canadian market.”

 

“The AFN name is synonymous with strength, customization, and a careful attention to addressing the needs of Canada’s First Nations and stands in direct alignment with Tribal First’s longstanding mission in the U.S.,” said Robert Shearer, Executive Vice President and leader of Tribal First.

Founded in 1998, AFN is a nationally incorporated insurance brokerage dedicated exclusively to serving First Nations across Canada. The Ottawa-based brokerage provides a full suite of products and services that include insurance, risk management, consulting, and employee benefits. AFN has access to leading international carriers and works directly with a large base of retail broker partners.

 

“This is a powerful strategic alliance that will add considerable strength to the AFN team,” said Gil Saunders, Principal at AFN. “Tribal First’s large platform, strong market relationships, and dedicated team of specialists will enable us to provide significant value and results to both our broker partners and First Nations clients. Most importantly, Tribal First shares our core objective of designing and delivering customized solutions that are in the best interest of Canada’s First Nations.”

 

The acquisition continues the Northern expansion of Tribal First. In 2017, the firm acquired American Indian Health Services, an American Indian-owned organization dedicated to addressing the distinct healthcare needs of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and related enterprises.

 

Saunders and the AFN team will join Alliant and continue to service clients from AFN’s Ottawa location. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

 

About Tribal First

Tribal First, a specialized program of Alliant Underwriting Solutions, has focused exclusively on meeting the insurance and risk management needs of Native governments and enterprises since 1993. Tribal First is the largest provider of insurance solutions to Native America and a leader in the specialty areas of tribal business enterprises, including gaming, alternative energy, construction, and housing authorities. Tribal First’s TribalCare division provides a full range of health services customized for the needs of Tribal Nations.

 

About Alliant Insurance Services

Headquartered in Newport Beach, CA, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. provides property and casualty, workers’ compensation, employee benefits, surety, and financial products and services to clients nationwide, including public entities, tribal nations, healthcare, energy, law firms, real estate, construction, and other industry groups. More information is available on the company’s website at www.alliant.com.

 

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