Insurance companies may be using artificial intelligence to make decisions about premiums and underwriting that they don't even understand (Image: DALLE-2)

Insurance premiums may soon be decided by artificial intelligence and personal profiles created from social media data — if they aren’t already — according to researchers concerned about the industry's potential misuse and lack of transparency regarding the new technologies.

These technologies, they say, could lead to people being disadvantaged for reasons that have nothing to do with their riskiness — such as the type of phone they use — or to indirectly discriminate against people for protected characteristics such as religion. 

Insurance companies overseas are already using data from sources including social media to decide how much to charge customers and whether to underwrite policies. Whether Australian companies have adopted similar methods is not known.