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Are wearable devices safe? Smart jewelry may have vulnerabilities

smart watch and smart phone

Wearable devices – including smart glasses, fitness tracking bracelets, smart watches and technology-infused jewelry – are touted as the next big wave on the digital front. However, risk, legal, and insurance experts have warned of many uncertainties associated with these new technologies.


Smart problems, no answers

  • Smart glasses: This type of technology adds information to what the user sees, so it can help improve efficiency and productivity. However, smart glasses could also distract the wearers, causing car accidents or injuries. More worrisome is the fact that smart glasses are able to capture real-time facial images and video and search data on a person, causing many to be concerned about privacy controls (or lack thereof).
  • Fitness tracking bands: These bands collect a person’s private health data – but it’s unclear where that data is actually “stored.” Can it be sold? Replicated? What happens to the information if the fitness band is lost?
  • Smart jewelry: Most of these pieces connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth. When the gem in the piece vibrates, it is allowing specific types of notifications (text, phone call, email) to come through to the wearer. These notifications can include data. Fortunately, ringtones on smart jewelry today act only as notifications, so if your ring or pendant gets stolen, you don’t lose actual emails and texts. However, how data is protected – especially as technology gets savvier in the future – remains to be seen.


In the public eye

Another real risk emerges as wearable technology becomes more popular and expensive – that is, the risk of theft. Smart necklaces, pendants or rings can cost into the thousands. As these pieces become more visible, consumers must take more precautions to protect them:

  • Add them to a Valuable Articles insurance policy
  • Keep them in a home safe when not in use
  • Understand what your insurance policy will provide, and make sure there are no exclusions that can impact your ability to repair or replace their item. For example, if a smart watch worth $100,000 was damaged, some policies would cover the cost to repair it, as they would with a chip-embedded jewelry item. Would yours?

This document is advisory in nature and is offered as a resource to be used together with your professional insurance advisors in maintaining a loss prevention program. It is an overview only and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with your insurance broker, or for legal, engineering or other professional advice.

Chubb is the marketing name used to refer to subsidiaries of Chubb Limited providing insurance and related services. For a list of these subsidiaries, please visit our website at Insurance provided by ACE American Insurance Company and its U.S. based Chubb underwriting company affiliates. All products may not be available in all states. This communication contains product summaries only. Coverage is subject to the language of the policies as actually issued. Surplus lines insurance sold only through licensed surplus lines producers. Chubb, 202 Hall's Mill Road, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-1600.

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