Insurers want more telematics data

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Top insurance groups are calling on telematics firms to provide them with even more data in order to better profile customers, according to investment banking firm AXA Group. It also postulates an acceleration of this data expansion as more and more insurers come on board and want specific metrics tracked in order to find out more about those that are paying for their services.

There are still some roadblocks to this though, as AXA CIO and COO Kevin Murray explains: “People are currently saying that it’s kind of like Big Brother, and that they don’t want third parties to necessarily know where they are and how they’re driving,” he said (via Computing). That’s pretty much the opposite view than the insurers need if they’re ever to get the kind of data they want on customers.

According to Murray, part of the reason that big brother fears are being assuaged however, is because of the fears parents have surrounding their children:

“The parents thought, ‘I’m paying for this and I want to know where my kids are’,” he said. “There were added benefits, too, such as in the case of an accident the system would immediately alert emergency services and, if your kid drove well, then you would receive a 15 to 20 per cent discount.”

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In the future, insurers will know if you engage in sarcasm or not

However it’s not just insurers trying to screw the consumers by sneakily getting them to take on the technology. In-fact, some insurers like Geico, have been willing to meet privacy activists in the middle, suggesting that not all of their driving needs to be tracked. In that case, as long as telematics users made sure they were tracked over a set number of days, they could occasionally turn the telematics service off. It’s nobody’s business why a person might not like a record of their activity, but as many have pointed out, personal privacy is a human right so a compromise needs to be found in many cases.

Murray though, believes that even in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelation last year that saw people around the world become aware of how the government was collecting and using data on them, that people will eventually become comfortable with the concept of sharing data with third parties. He even went on to highlight some of the companies that are making big inroads into this type of data tracking, like Google:

“[Google’s] Nest is a good example, because not only is it going to monitor the home for temperature but it may know when you’re home as well as other details,” he said. 

It’s this more personal data that the insurers are going to be interested though. While driving habits can tell them so much about a person, there’s potential for much more that could allow insurers to fine tune premiums for individuals. The question is, are we happy letting them have it?

For Murray’s part, he isn’t looking to take data from people that don’t want to give it. Ultimately, he wants to see consumers agree (or not) with third party tracking at point of purchase and if it’s a manufacturer installed telematics system, he wants that company, as well as the retailer too obtain permission before turning the tracking on.

Image source: Andrew Steinmetz

 

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.