Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2012 03:11 PM
Auto-insurance companies have already gone quite far down the road toward swapping detailed information about their policyholders' driving habits for premium discounts, using all sorts of onboard devices including GPS and other technologies. Privacy advocates, naturally, have raised some concerns about this practice.
But now, Allstate is taking this discipline at least one step further by enlisting interested employees and agency owners in a massive test of its Drive Wise telematics-based system. Already available in Illinois, Ohio and Arizona, Drive Wise will be rolled out to inside participants in additional states this year to gather still more data that, the insurance company says, will help it "identify the safer driving habits that can earn participating customers driving discounts on their car insurance." The safer the driver, the bigger the savings.
"Our early experience with Drive Wise indicates telematics technology has the potential to save lives, reduce injuries and save millions of dollars in property damage each year," said Bob Otis, SVP of Allstate's auto product operations, in a press release. "Launching this crowdsourcing test of our unique, usage-based insurance device will help us create a better product for our customers, while encouraging our employees and agency owners to examine and improve their own driving habits."
Allstate said that Drive Wise already has helped involved employees boost their driving behavior. Only 25 percent of drivers in the initial group of testers, the company said, scored in the ideal "safe zone," but over the course of the test, that figure rose to 75 percent.
Drive Wise users simply plug a device into a diagnostic port found under new cars' dashboards and then go online to find out how they're doing. The Allstate website also lets them know what kind of discounts they could obtain based on their driving habits, up to 30 percent for drivers with the safest records and lowest mileage.