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Big Flo is Watching: Americans OK with Insurers Monitoring Driving Behavior

But many are concerned about hackers, loss of privacy.

by on Apr.25, 2014

Big Sister is watching. Flo and the Snapshot data tracker, Progressive' user-based insurance device.

It’s not quite “Big Brother,” but many American motorists are now letting their insurance companies keep a close eye on what they do while behind the wheel. And millions more could soon follow.

More than half of all American drivers are willing to give insurance companies the authorization to review their driving habits in return for lower insurance rates, according to a new survey.

The research, conducted by the Deliotte Center for Financial Service,s noted that auto insurers are increasingly interested in telematics, or mobile technology used to gather individual drivers’ data, to help better determine what to charge motorists for their insurance.

The Last Word!

More than a million drivers across the country are already taking part in pay-as-you-drive or usage-based insurance coverage from large providers, such as Allstate, Progressive and State Farm, according to the most recent estimates.

In its survey, Deloitte found that consumer sentiment is changing when it comes to possible insurance savings based on their data.  The new study found 53% of the respondents said they would allow their driving to be tracked via a mobile device in exchange for premium discounts based on their performance.

Younger drivers in the “Millennial” generation were the most open to data tracking, nearly two-thirds of those between 21 and 29 willing to give telematics a go, compared to only 44% for those 60 or older.

The survey found about half of the respondents expected discounts of between 11% and 20% percent discount to have insurance companies monitor their behavior. About on in four anticipated savings of between 11% and 15%, while the rest of those surveyed  thought they’d be entitled to discounts of over 20 percent.

Furthermore, interest among drivers could also spur insurers to “gamify” driving by leveraging data to encourage or reward good behavior, thus making the driving process more interactive, according to Deloitte’s analysts.

(That simple ticket can double your insurance premiums. Click Here for more.)

Allstate, one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, now allow drivers in 30 different states to prove they are safe drivers and save money  through usage-based monitoring.  Allstate’s “Drivewise” policy tracks mileage, hard braking, speed, and time of day when a vehicle is in use. Using telematics technology to gather the data, Allstate rewards drivers for being safe on the road, the insurer claims.

After enrolling in the program, Drivewise customers must connect a monitoring device and take their first trip before getting an enrollment reward check of 10 percent. Customers can keep earning reward checks every six months based on their actual driving behavior. Customers can track their recorded driving behavior online or through a Drivewise tool within the Allstate Mobile app.

“We are committed to helping create a safer, more self-aware driver and, in doing so, we are able to pass along significant savings for safer driving,” says Allstate’s Drivewise Program Director Sarah Inciong. “Having more customers participate offers us even more insight into the impact of various driving behaviors, which can help improve the product and our customer’s driving habits.”

Allstate claims the average client receives rewards equal to 13% of their normal insurance bill. Progressive says its Snapshot data tracker has yielded motorists and average $150-a-year discount.

(Breakthrough technologies allow motorists to “see” in new ways. Click Here to find out more.)

Not everyone is comfortable with having an insurance company come along for the ride.

A majority of Americans, Australians and Britons believe that so-called “connected-vehicle” technology will make driving safer, but most are also concerned about security and privacy, according to a recent survey by researchers from the University of Michigan.

More than three-fourths believe that Internet connectivity in connected vehicles is important and approximately 86% are interested in having connected-vehicle technology.

(Feds want vehicles to “talk to one another” to improve highway safety. Click Here for more on planned new V2V rules.)

However, 30% of the online respondents in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. also said they are “very concerned” about the potential for breaches in vehicle security by hackers and they also worry about data privacy in tracking speed and location. Another 37% of the respondents are “moderately concerned” about the same issues and nearly a quarter are “slightly concerned,” according to the survey results.

Despite concerns about security and privacy, the majority believe connected vehicle technologies will reduce the number and severity of crashes, improve emergency response times and result in better fuel economy. In addition, more than 60% expect less traffic congestion, shorter travel times and lower vehicle emissions.

California Proposes Auto Insurance by the Mile

"Pay as you drive" includes controversial driver monitoring.

by on Jul.20, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner

"These regulations expand insurance options for consumers, allowing a freer market to create incentives for driving less."

California has just completed hearings on a proposal to have insurance companies sell “pay as you drive” plans that will offer a greater spread in rates than currently. Potential big winners are those who drive relatively fewer miles, while people with long commutes could see an increase in rates.

The proposed state regulations, which could be in place by this fall, allow automobile insurance companies to offer the new plan in the country’s largest market, and one where uninsured drivers remain a problem.

The Brookings Institute has been suggesting usage-based insurance rates as a national policy as a way to get people to drive less, which means making it more expensive to drive. A trend appears to be emerging that has various government entities saying that increasing the cost of driving is a good way to reduce greenhouse gases. It is also, of course, a way to increase falling revenues, as actual miles driven are dropping as the Great Recession drags on, although this rarely stated in official announcements.

Under the California plan, companies can continue to offer traditional insurance based on estimated mileage. However, now they can also offer a verified mileage program instead of or in addition to a traditional estimated mileage program. The insurance industry has generally positive opinions about the program, particularly after cell phone type billing was added to the proposal.

Great Rates!

Great Rates!

“These regulations expand insurance options for consumers, allowing a freer market to create incentives for driving less,” said California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. “By empowering consumers to take charge of their insurance bill, we may see fewer cars on the road; which means cleaner air, safer streets and lower premiums.”