Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Why Letting Your Insurance Company Monitor How You Drive Can Be a Good Thing 567

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Kim Gittleson reports at BBC that car insurance firms like Progressive are trying to convince consumers that letting them monitor their driving behavior is actually a good thing. They say that the future of car insurance is not just being able to monitor individual drivers to give them lower prices, but also to make them better drivers. 'Now that we can observe directly how people drive, we think this will change the way insurance works,' says Dave Pratt, who says that Progressive has more than a trillion seconds of driving data from 1.6 million customers. '18-year-old guys pay a lot for insurance, but some 18-year-olds are really safe drivers and they deserve a better deal.' Better big data technologies, like the telematic driving data collected by car companies (PDF) or even information gathered from social media profiles, can help augment that risk profile. 'If I'm a driver that doesn't drive that frequently, and I have a pattern that would indicate that I drive more carefully than an average person with my profile, then I may be able to save 30-40% on my car insurance, and that's pretty significant,' says Joe Reifel. For now, using big data analytics for insurers is still in the early stages. Only 2% of the U.S. car insurance market offers an insurance product based on monitoring driving, but that proportion is projected to grow to around 10-15% of the market by 2017. And other countries, like Italy and the U.K., are already using the data to analyze not just risk profiles but also to determine who is at fault in car accidents. The future, most analysts agree is create a continuous feedback loop between insurers and consumers, so that consumers will react to the big data analyses that insurers perform and change their behavior accordingly. 'Bad drivers will at some point need to improve their driving or accept [having] to pay for the real risk they represent,' says Jacques Amselem."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Letting Your Insurance Company Monitor How You Drive Can Be a Good Thing

Comments Filter:
  • by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:33PM (#45436299) who decides what is safe driving?

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:34PM (#45436313) Homepage Journal

    Never mind they'll see you regularly drive 10-15 over the limit and think you're a risk. How about those clowns who sit in the left lane, going up hill and don't maintain speed, so everyone jockeys to get around them in the right lane(s)? You don't see that in their data stream.

    Lots more examples, which I predict this thread will include.

  • No recourse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Waccoon ( 1186667 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:37PM (#45436347)

    Insurance rates (and prices in general) as set according to market statistics. I don't see how monitoring individual people will help those people.

    Too much potential for individual people to get screwed, with no real benefit to the public as a whole. Forget it.

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:37PM (#45436355)

    then you have nothing to fear, Citizen.

    While I agree you're within your rights to let them track you for the associated discount, the premise behind this and the assumed acceptance by the privacy-less Generation is disturbing.

  • by cowwoc2001 ( 976892 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:38PM (#45436367)

    Without analytics, low-risk 18 year olds pay a lot of money to cover high-risk 18 year olds. With analytics, low-risk 18 year olds pay less (though not nearly as low as they should be paying) and high-risk 18 year olds are uninsurable. Why? Because you're going to have to substantially raise the price on those high-risk 18 year olds now that low-risk ones aren't covering the bill.

    Now extend this logic to health care. Why is it okay to preach universal health-care and group insurance where low-risk cover the bill for high-risk, but the same isn't true for auto insurance? It's a slippery slope!

  • No F#$KING way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bucc5062 ( 856482 ) <bucc5062 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:38PM (#45436373)

    What are the parameters that define a "good" driver. Going below the speed limit on a highway in the left lane. Being lucky when you don't look right or left making a turn onto a street? Taking way to long to brake?

    I've been driving for decades, I've put over 300,000 miles under me, but I bet those damn things would label me a bad driver for I accelerate firmly coming onto a highway, I don't brake forever coming off a highway, I tend to exceed the posted speed limit by a few miles when in the left lane and certainly when passing and i do my best to maintain situational awareness when behind the wheel.

    These devices will do nothing to bring about "safe" driving because that term is still relative to skill, conditions, and environment. Flo can take her device and shove it somewhere dark, just not in my car.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:40PM (#45436395)

    I don;t care what you heard. I don;t care what your independent-insurance-agent-father told you. I don;t care what any insurance industry flak says. I don;t care what the industry advertisements and propaganda say.

    Insurance companies are NOT interested in reducing premiums. EVER!

    If you hear it, it's a lie. Lowered car insurance premiums is a lie.Lowered health insurance premiums(ACA) is a lie.

    If you don't know this, you are a fool!

  • Huge discounts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:42PM (#45436457) Journal
    we think this will change the way insurance works,

    So if they find I'm a good driver, never getting in any accidents, maintain a good distance between myself and other vehicles, don't get any tickets, they'll give me a huge discount, at least 50%, from what I'm paying now, right?


    Insurance company: We're sorry, we don't operate that way.
    Me: Yeah, thought so. Just another scam to hand over my money to a private company.
  • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:45PM (#45436497)
    The health insurance industry did this about twenty years ago (ish. I don't remember exactly). Instead of binning people by risk and associated cost, they starting looking at people on an individual level and simply denying those who might not be profitable. It sounds good when you're angry at irresponsible drivers, and it certainly makes money for the insurance companies, but it doesn't work when you're dependent on cars on driving to make your infrastructure work and when insurance is an integral part of that (required in many states).
  • Re:Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:46PM (#45436529) Journal

    No kidding. The whole article feels like it should come with the heading "This message brought to you by the Insurance Industry, looking out for our^H^H^Hyour interests!"

  • Re:No F#$KING way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:50PM (#45436577) Homepage Journal

    The thing about safe driving is, nothing these machines do can measure it. This tracking is the automotive equivalent of polygraph in terms of accuracy.

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @04:13PM (#45436927)

    Also, if this is just a device that monitors speed, acceleration, driving distance etc it's not going to know about some of the stupidest/most dangerous driving decisions - running red lights, talking on a cell/texting/eating while driving, cutting people off, tailgating, road rage, etc. I assume it won't even know about DUIs or other seriously stupid decisions.

    Speeding or accelerating "too fast" are probably some of the *least* dangerous acts in themselves (unless they are blatantly reckless, which is rare), and only really indicative of bad driving when combined with the kinds of dumb actions a GPS device can't detect...

  • Re:Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheNastyInThePasty ( 2382648 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @04:13PM (#45436931)

    Yes because we all know that speeding always leads to accidents. Meanwhile the oblivious woman driving while talking on her cell phone while eating a hamburger with a bunch of screaming kids in the back is considered a safe-driver by these devices because she's got cruise control on and she's going exactly the speed limit.

  • by ElementOfDestruction ( 2024308 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @04:19PM (#45437029)
    OK. Enough of the FUD; I use Progressive and I got the 30% discount.

    I drive, on average, 10-15 MPH above the posted speed limit. But I leave - minimally - 2 seconds of stopping time in front of me. I'm more likely to merge going 65mph in a 60mph than 55mph, unlike many other drivers - it vastly helps traffic flow when you merge going at the same ambient speed as other drivers. Definitely not a leadfoot. Just observant.

    They track when you drive, and number of "hard" stops. I had the beeper go off ONCE - when I was cut off by a driver. People will have sudden stops - deer crossings, other drivers. One or two isn't an automatic penalty. I was with another driver, and he had THREE "beeps" while stopping. Reason is he tailgates during normal driving. If the car in front slams on the brakes, he does too. It just measures the delta D over delta T, and if the ratio is too large, it determines it was a "hard stop". Like I said - you are allotted a certain number of these based on normal driving procedures.

    The other part of the discount comes from when you drive - I had a second job during second shift, and drove back during the "cautionary" zone more nearly 3 times a week. I still got full discount.

    Before everybody goes SCREAMING about how they're getting reamed a new asshole because Insurance Company X will know if they've gone 1.5 mph over the posted limit, settle the fuck down.

    How about this? What about a sensor in front of the car, measuring current speed and distance to car in front? If you spend 0-5% of the time within 2 second stopping distance, you get 0 discount; all the way up to 90-100% of the time getting a (max) discount. That's about what the Snapshot was measuring. Jesus Christ the sky is falling!!!

    Relevant link from Progressive []
  • Re:Huh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mhajicek ( 1582795 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @04:20PM (#45437049)
    That does sound like a good deal. Just drive like a granny when it's in, the after it's out go back to Speed Racer.
  • Re:Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @04:26PM (#45437127)

    The total cost is usually the same. We are just splitting the currency of the Cost.
    There is Cost in United States of America Standard Dollars, and the cost in loss in privacy. You want more privacy you pay more, you want to pay less money you give up some privacy. The cost is about the same, it is just how we decide to pay for it.

  • Re:Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @04:43PM (#45437359) Homepage

    This is just to reel in some customers. As soon as it gets popular they'll start requiring it 24/7 to avoid people gaming it.

  • Re:Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @05:24PM (#45438007)

    shouldn't they care about the actual insurance part... like having no accidents/claims for the 20+ years of driving? what does it matter if i accelerate fast in my sports car or not...

  • Re:Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @06:04PM (#45438547)

    What the fuck is wrong with rapid acceleration?! People repeat this stupid mantra over and over like it was a law of nature or something.

  • Re:Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @06:13PM (#45438655)
    That's great if you don't have any assets. If you have a house or significant investments, those are at risk. One accident, it doesn't have to be 100% your fault, and the lawyers are gonna come sniffing around. If you're in an accident and have assets, expect somebody or other to come after them.

    Insurance companies also take care of all the legal BS with real lawyers so you don't have to waste a lot of time navigating courts or hiring lawyers.

    Sadly, those who have the money to self insure are the ones who need insurance.
  • Re:Huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @11:34PM (#45440885) Journal

    That's just it. Going down this road, it stops being insurance and switches to being a payment plan, because you stop being part of a group, spreading the risk among all of the group, instead you are being rated as an individual.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court