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Insurer Measures Driver Safety With Smartphone App To Calculate Premiums

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the how's-my-driving dept.

Handhelds 345

Qedward writes "Motorists are being invited to help develop a new driving app that could earn them a discount of 'up to 20%' on their motor insurance. British insurer Aviva is using smartphone technology to create individual driver profiles that will be used to calculate tailored pay-how-you-drive premiums. The driver behavioral app, Aviva RateMyDrive, will monitor motorists taking part in the test for 200 miles, including acceleration, braking and cornering. This data is then turned into an individual score which helps determine the motorist's premium, with 'safer' drivers earning up to 20% off their deal."

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Begging to be gamed (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020875)

Besides the fact that this is begging to be gamed, how to they tell the difference between someone driving carefully and some half-blind octogenarian that's causing traffic accidents around them by driving too slow and failing to react to near-misses that may affect the next driver?

Re:Begging to be gamed (3, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021067)

Wouldn't that just be a matter of statistics? The more data that's captured, the more patterns will emerge.

Re:Begging to be gamed (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021369)

I'd say it is more a slippery slope:

The insurance company incentivises people to provide very detailed information about themselves, that they would normally never provide, and may even try to prevent being obtained.

In the process, they build a precedent that will penalize people that are unwilling to provide this data willingly.

EG, it starts out as "If I voluntarily join this program, I could say 20% on my insurance." It then later becomes the "New standard rate metric, based on your personal driving patterns," and eventually becomes "Penalized rate for not providing data on your traffic patterns."

While it looks good now, it wont look so good to people who value their privacy in the future. They will be lumped in with people who are clearly bad drivers but dont want to admit it, and want to hide that fact from the insurance companies.

break the law. (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021527)

AFAIC just break the law, don't buy insurance. This is a problem of-course, because eventually the cops will have the license plate recognition systems that are tied into insurance databases and all the other databases and it will be nearly impossible to drive without insurance, but imagine for a moment that everybody just stopped buying insurance, cancelled their insurance completely and drove without it.

It's possible to set this up with today's communications than ever before. There should be: "get together to break the law" app that people would get and then all act as one to break the law of the day. This is the only way that doesn't involve violence against the government, with guns and all, that can be used to take the power back from the government.

Imagine if tax time came and nobody paid the taxes.
Imagine if everybody cancelled their insurance and drove anyway.
Imagine if everybody had drugs on them at all times.

what is the power going to do, when the subjects stop recognising the power? Kill everybody?

Re:break the law. (3, Interesting)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021551)

but imagine for a moment that everybody just stopped buying insurance, canceled their insurance completely and drove without it.

Within a short time the automated license plate scanners would be connected to an insurance monitoring system and an automated fine-sending system.
What, do you think the appropriate hooks aren't there yet?

Re:break the law. (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021569)

yeah, and breaking the law may mean you are going to get a fine and you should take it to the logical conclusion and not pay the fine.

Not pay the taxes, no fines, don't keep money in banks, drive without insurance, have drugs on you all the time, have guns at you at all times, stop giving the power the power.

The reality is that the entire power structure is based around voluntary compliance with the law that is set up.

Re:break the law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021563)

Driving without insurance in the UK will get your car seized and crushed.

Re:break the law. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021577)

all cars seized and crushed? From all people? Even if just 10% of people cancel their insurance right now and drive this way, that's millions of people.

Re:break the law. (3, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021749)

Mass civil disobedience happens when people really care about something enough to put their own liberty and property in danger. People don't care that much about their insurance company lowering their premiums in exchange for monitoring their driving behaviour, in fact, most good drivers are going to welcome this (and everyone thinks they're a good driver).

Re:break the law. (3)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021999)

No, sure, people don't react and don't do anything because they are the proverbial frog that is being slowly cooked in a pan, not thrown into boiling hot water, they are boiled slowly.

However there will be a breaking point, I believe that breaking point is going to hit when the next economic crisis happens, so when the dollar crashes, the US bonds crash. But the unfortunate part is that if the people did try to get out of that pan right now, it would mean much less blood, less senseless violence. It's not like it's good to have a massive revolt, revolution, guillotines on the streets, etc., it's really bad, it's bad for the economy and society, not just for those, who are unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and have their heads chopped off.

It's bad for the society, because it will disrupt the economy to the point, where it may take not just years and decades to fix, it's better to kick the bad habits sooner rather than later.

Re:break the law. (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021645)

Never understood this. Why crush the car? Why not sell it? Change the locks if necessary, but it's not like the car is being punished here.

Re:break the law. (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021709)

Well, it's government, it is not supposed to be efficient or intelligent. It's about punishment, show of force, showing you who is the boss, telling you to go stuff it, showing you that they can crash you (or your car).

Re:break the law. (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021973)

Never understood this. Why crush the car? Why not sell it? Change the locks if necessary, but it's not like the car is being punished here.

Symbolism. That, and the inability to get any value back from the car afterwards.

Easier soultion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021809)

Just don't buy insurance from any company that uses this program. Insurance company make money by having thousands of costumers, and they relies that on average those customers won't get into an accident. The problem arises when they loose the majority of their customers.

Example if you have 100k customers and 2 of them get into an accident then it's not a big deal. But if you only have 100 customers and 2 of them get into an accident then you take a loss.

Re:break the law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021923)

There should be: "get together to break the law" app that people would get and then all act as one to break the law of the day. This is the only way that doesn't involve violence against the government, with guns and all, that can be used to take the power back from the government.

Yeah, that always works out. Just like the popular efforts for "don't buy gas on this day" - which always has a huge effect. I'm sure you could arrange for large numbers of people to cancel their auto insurance at the same time and then go out and drive...

Re:break the law. (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#41022001)

Imagine if tax time came and nobody paid the taxes.
Imagine if everybody cancelled their insurance and drove anyway.
Imagine if everybody had drugs on them at all times.

You just gave the for-profit prison industry a huge erection.

Re:Begging to be gamed (1)

thereitis (2355426) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021887)

They certainly won't share their methods of interpreting the driving data, so it would be an easy excuse to charge you more money. "Mr. Mahoney, according to your driving data you will be charged a 5% premium over the standard rate. Better luck next time."

It's interesting but if they aren't correlating the data with red lights, traffic signs, and impact on other drivers, it's of limited use. Unless you're one of those people who habitually drive 50 over the speed limit.

Re:Begging to be gamed (3, Insightful)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021453)

how to they tell the difference between someone driving carefully and some half-blind octogenarian that's causing traffic accidents around them by driving too slow ... ?

Correlating speed to position and a database of speed limits will tell you if people are driving too fast or too slow. (In certain cases, driving slower than the speed limit is the correct action, so you'd have to look at a large dataset to differentiate between those who adapt to circumstances and those who always drive to slow.)

In general, slow drivers aren't a problem for insurance companies. If you drive slowly and another car gets into an accident while trying to overtake, it's typically his insurace that will have to pay, because he should have waited until it was safe to pass.

I suspect they are trying to weed out the young drivers who have never been in a near-accident and believe that they can drive 20 mph over the speed limit, because they have such a good car, and their reactions are so much better than other people's. If they can eliminate that subset of drivers, they wouldn't have to have such high premiums for young people in general.

Re:Begging to be gamed (4, Informative)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021489)

The UK insurance industry has a huge problem with bogus whiplash claims - the slightest little bump and lawyers are pushing for thousands of pounds in compensation for a medical condition which doctors admit is almost impossible to prove either way. This has lead to a fivefold increase in some insurance costs over the last fifteen years. Schemes like this, and others where rolling camera footage is stored, are an attempt to show that these low speed collisions are generating claims far beyond what is reasonable.

Re:Begging to be gamed (5, Interesting)

SteveAyre (209812) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021509)

Aviva developed a Pay As You Go insurance system several years ago now.
http://www.aviva.co.uk/media-centre/story/2840/norwich-union-launches-innovative-pay-as%20you-drive/ [aviva.co.uk]

We studied it as part of a project during my CompSci course about the time it was launched.

Essentially you agree that they put a GPS tracker in your car. It monitors your speed/acceleration/braking/etc (just like the app). You then only pay insurance for when you are driving, and the price is affected by how well you drive. It's been around for some time now. It's fixed to your car, and if you remove it from your car so they don't see your bad driving you're illegally driving without insurance.

All the phone app is is a free trial of that type of insurance - far cheaper to give them an app than send them a tracker. If you were to actually buy their insurance there's no way they'd let you keep using the phone app for it. Too much chance of forgetting the phone or battery dying, let alone any 'gaming'.

Re:Begging to be gamed (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021955)

I'd be interested in such an app just for the data.

Knowing what the insurance companies have determined is statistically higher accident risk behavior would help teach better driving methods.

I do all sorts of stuff that's a little different than what most people do to minimize accident risk. Over a lifetime of driving, it has apparently worked well for reducing accidents. (I had one, within the first year of driving when I still didn't know what I was doing. That was 18 years ago.)

For example, I stay way back from the wide white line at intersections, the more traffic or faster the cross traffic is the farther back I stay. There is NO REASON to get up close unless turning right. All that does is set up a situation where an accident in the intersection could push cars into mine. The extra 10 feet doesn't matter for starting up again when the light turns green.

The insurance companies could help one another and themselves by making this information public and easy to access. (Of course, the lawyers wouldn't like it, but.. fuck them.

Re:Begging to be gamed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021517)

Some extra thoughts:

they are just looking for categories; that means the x% safest may get the 20% discount, y% safe gets 10% and the rest get increases on their premium and the worst just get dumped. The chance that you are in the safest category getting the discount will be very low, and is certainly influenced by luck. (e.g. some kids running out into the street infront of you.)

Remember that they are doing this because they think it will earn them more money, since you're the customer, you'll be paying that money.

Re:Begging to be gamed (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021531)

They don't care. They don't have to pay for the near misses or the accidents caused indirectly. They only care about what they have to pay for.

Re:Begging to be gamed (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021631)

Octogenarians don't tend to have smart phones or install apps for insurance quotes. Also, even if it could be gamed, the basic question from the insurer's point of view is do they make more money from providing the app or not? Even if we assume x% of people somehow manage to con the app, does the remainder who use it in good faith allow the insurer to more accurately calculate risk and therefore the quotes it offers? If the answer is yes then it's clear why they may do it. The easiest way to game the app of course would be to stick to the speed limits which isn't necessarily a bad idea in the first place and cheaters might inadvertently save a life or two.

I also don't believe that a 20% discount is a huge risk anyway. Ring up an insurer and say you got price X off another insurer and mysteriously they'll lower their own quote by a large margin to get your business. Since we have no idea of knowing how Aviva produce their quote in the first place, or how they determine the "discount", or what % fees they save by not selling a policy through a broker, I don't think the app is exposing them to much risk even if a person was cheating.

Re:Begging to be gamed (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021787)

how to they tell the difference between someone driving carefully and some half-blind octogenarian that's causing traffic accidents around them by driving too slow

Statistically speaking, anyone who is regularly causing traffic crashes around them is highly likely to be involved in one or more of those crashes. It is the nature of being a reckless driver that, sooner or later, you will be in a crash.

Aviva is a huge business (sixth-largest insurance company in the world) - they employ some of the best actuaries in the world to figure out their risk models. They are going to be studying the statistics of driver behaviour in detail and will surely come up with more than just "driving too fast/slow" as a factor - I'd expect them to be developing models that take into account factors like use of acceleration, time of day, day of week, local weather conditions, type of road, road speed, road congestion, etc. At the moment, the main factors they use are type of car and age of driver, however this really penalises young drivers even if they drive carefully, because crashes are disproportionately caused by young drivers (primarily men).

Re:Begging to be gamed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021827)

Weasel words for someone who drives too close for the speed they chose to dry at. Blaming some else too. Pathetic. You are responsible for your actions, not the person in front. If you drive into someone, it is your fault.

Not too sure on this (3, Insightful)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020893)

I'm not too sure this is a universally good idea. Sometimes traffic gives you a tricky situation and you need to accelerate or do a quick lane change to avoid a potential accident. In those moments I'm not too sure it's good to introduce the thought, "Oh, but wait, that may increase my premium".

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020927)

You know what also increases your premium? Getting into said accident.

But seriously now, if it's for 200 miles, then you just can go on your best behaviour for that distance and then drive like a madman after. If it's forever, there's obvious data safety and privacy implications. I'm not too sure I would participate.

Re:Not too sure on this (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020963)

The actual issue is that it's just 200 miles - hardly a reasonable sample.

But then again, I would say that monitoring where I go for 5 meters is already an invasion of my privacy, so I wouldn't cooperate anyway. Screw them.

Re:Not too sure on this (-1)

kwark (512736) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021009)

You have something to hide? You must be a terrorist. But think about the monies you can save, what better incentive is there people?

Luckily most will participate to earn a few bucks, making them drive safer and as a net effect the road a safer place to be?

But really, what privacy concern is there in acceleration data?

Re:Not too sure on this (3, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021199)

But really, what privacy concern is there in acceleration data?

None. But...

You can bet that their programmers wrote in the conclusion of their presentation to management: "With more data, the test becomes more accurate."
So, when they will do the test again next year (they will, don't worry), it will include more data. Did you know that statistics say that secondary roads are more dangerous than highways?

I'll stay out from the start.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021367)

Not only are secondary roads more dangerous, they're significantly more dangerous. Highways are very safe overall.

This scheme will work if Aviva play it right, not only because it will give a significant discount, but that young people (who are most likely to get into an accident) like to think they're great at driving, and will do anything to prove it to their peer group. Aviva should give out window stickers "I'm teh awesumist driva" so they can display their prowess whilst they drive in circles at night playing dubstep.

I wonder if they system requires the driver to drive at certain times of the day to get a representative sample, and to avoid the "200 miles of motorway driving at night" workaround.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021409)

What I meant is that there is a massive incentive for an insurance company to monitor the driving style, the roads they choose, the time they drive, and all of that 24/7. It is the logical next step.

I have nothing to hide from my government, but I just do not trust commercial enterprises enough to trust them with my data. Not even if it might make the roads safer.

If you want the kids to drive safely, then put a speed-limiter on cars (you're not allowed to exceed the speed limit anyway), like the lorries already have for a long time.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021033)

So you don't have a cell phone?

Re:Not too sure on this (4, Interesting)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021185)

The actual issue is that it's just 200 miles - hardly a reasonable sample.

Exactly. Get onto a motorway at 2am, hit 70mph, cruise control on, no need to brake, accelerate or turn corners for the next 200 miles.

Or maybe 100 miles, if you then find a junction and take a leisurely trip around a roundabout to get back onto the motorway to come home again.

That approach also avoids them

monitoring where I go

I'm not going anywhere, just doing a quick data gathering exercise to save money on my car insurance.

Where all of this breaks down is that such a journey would cost me £25 in diesel, and that's well over 10% of my annual car insurance premium. Given that Aviva are around 15% more expensive than my current insurer, I'm better off just not bothering.

A 20% discount just doesn't justify the time, effort and (since they'll never stop at 200 miles, within a year it'll be ten times that) intrusion.

Re:Not too sure on this (2)

hattig (47930) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021379)

I don't think that this application is for you, an experienced driver with a £250 annual insurance premium.

This app is for younger drivers with >£1000 insurance premiums, where £20 of fuel is worth it to save £200. That's if they can stop themselves cruising down the motorway at 100mph at 2am because the road is so empty. Note that these young drivers will be in older, cheaper cars without cruise control too.

The only way around it is for the device to either mark down late night driving, or to require driving samples at specific times of the day, or for the device to take small samples totalling 200 miles from 1000 miles of driving - which would go some way to avoid the monitoring issue too.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021419)

The co-op claim a success on their young drivers product that puts a black box into the car and monitors all the time.

I'm not sure whether that success claim is backed up by hard data.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021435)

If the parent is watching all the time, the kid won't ever steal a cookie. I'm not sure that's a desirable world to live in though.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

kraut (2788) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021497)

True, but for a young driver in the UK, faced with car insurance that costs more per year than his car cost to buy, it might be an acceptable compromise.

Re:Not too sure on this (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021557)

I see a business opportunity.

Tired of paying those high insurance premiums? Don't want to waste your own time and gas money to game the insurance system with your phone being driven very carefully for miles and miles on end? Well, now you can have your insurance premiums lowered for a low fee of 10 bucks per month, we'll drive your phone around, as we collect the phones of all the other folks who are taking advantage of our great deal and low rates.

Re:Not too sure on this (4, Insightful)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021287)

This is another thin end of the wedge situation. For now it's an optional 200 mile sample. Then it'll be permanantly on. Then having this will be a condition of your insurance...
Remember that as this is a smartphone app location data will also be captured. Do you really want your insurer knowing everywhere you go? How long before the Police demand that data to track where someone's been?
OBdisclaimer - I work for an insurance company and I'm extremely uneasy about this.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021493)

It's not compulsory. Hey, if you have a big powerful car you'll pay higher premiums. Screw them by driving a small car and not crashing it.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021657)

200 miles probably represents several weeks of driving for a typical person who commutes to work and probably a month's worth for people out of work / home keepers.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021099)

Certainly this did occur to me as well (somehow knew it would be the first response). My point is simply that it does add an extra thought whereas previously the driver would just default to "don't get in a fucking accident". Just a possible extra thought latency.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020971)

"Sometimes...."

Indeed sometimes. That sometimes you have to act will show abnormal in the data. If that sometimes becomes often and thus a pattern, either change your route (or timing) to a safer one or be come a better driver by anticipating more if you thing those anomalies in the data weren't your fault in the first place.

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

deesine (722173) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021023)

I'm not too sure either.

I can't help but think of the time I was in Vegas at a blackjack table. The gal next to me was asking the dealer what this "Insurance" thing was written on the table. He answered, "Well, if it's advertised on the table, by the casino, do you think it's good for you, or good for them?"

--

Re:Not too sure on this (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021201)

False comparison. This is actually a potential benefit for both parties.

The insurer wins as there should be a reduced number of claims, resulting in reduced staff numbers required and lower payouts for claims.

The driver wins as they get a lower premium.

The rest of us lose out as we'll now get stuck behind slow cocks that don't dare accelerate away from junctions, adding to overall congestion and causing accidents for others as a result. But that doesn't make it a bad choice for the insured driver.

public transport? (4, Funny)

LSDelirious (1569065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020905)

Wonder how they would rate me if I took the bus to work for a week? Certainly wouldn't catch me speeding or accelerating/decelerating too hard, but I wonder how the frequent stops would factor in? Also if you didn't put your phone into airplane mode, would being a passenger in a 737 double your rates when they clock you doing 150+mph at takeoff before you ascend above cell reception range?

Re:public transport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020935)

I'm guessing they use GPS, so if you go 150+ on a runway they can figure out what's wrong.

Re:public transport? (1)

LSDelirious (1569065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020965)

that would imply they are smart/care enough to actually look into it instead of jumping at the chance to charge you a more profitable rate

Re:public transport? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021007)

Auto insurance is a fairly competitive market, I'd imagine a lot of people would jump ship pretty quickly if their rates went up due to using this app.

Re:public transport? (1)

LSDelirious (1569065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021043)

they don't necessarily have to gouge you, just not give you a perceived discount you could potentially have received. If they can get people to switch to them with this gimmick and then deny them the discount but still charge a comparable rate, many would still stick with them because they're too busy to worry about car insurance shopping...

Re:public transport? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020937)

I wonder how different roads will affect it? Much of my driving is done on twisty country roads with speeds varying from 30mph to 60mph. I'm guessing the app won't say much about things like my road position or anticipation. If I drive on the motorway it's just a case of stick it in 6th and rumble along at 70mph and 2200rpm in a straightish line for the day, with breaks every two hours. I could be sitting there reading a book or posting on slashdot - whoops, had to change lanes for that lorry there - and thus driving really quite dangerously, but with no real indication of "erratic" driving.

Re:public transport? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021401)

I could be sitting there reading a book or posting on slashdot

I've found that you can mount a PS Vita onto your steering wheel with a couple of cable ties.

Great for playing racing games when you're driving down a boring motorway.

Re:public transport? (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021479)

I've found that the single-spoke steering wheel on my CX (looks like this [gawkerassets.com] , from this article [jalopnik.com] ) make a perfect laptop stand. Since the steering wheel is practically locked solid above 70mph it doesn't even slide about when you're driving on the motorway.

Re:public transport? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021011)

150+mph, didn't crash, good driver!

Re:public transport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021727)

Airplane mode switches off all radio transmitters in your phone. The GPS function, on the other hand, is a passive receiver and is unaffected by airplane mode.

Seems straightforward enough... (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020909)

Drive sensibly while you're running the app, drive like a nutter when you're not.

On a more serious note, if this ran *all the time* then it may provide useful metrics on driver ability without the privacy concerns of GPS tracking. Yes, you could *theoretically* estimate someone's position from the accelerometer data - that is, after all, how Intertial Navigation Systems work - but it wouldn't be very accurate. You could estimate someone's position from cell handoff too, if you included that in the data, but then you'd have to be *trying* to be creepy ;-)

One of the companies I work with installs GPS trackers in vehicles for things like lorries, heavy plant and such. Their system has an option for an accelerometer that will beep if the drivier is accelerating too quickly, and thus wasting a lot of fuel. One biggish fleet has apparently saved about 1 million Euros on diesel alone using this, never mind tyres and repairs.

Re:Seems straightforward enough... (1)

LSDelirious (1569065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021273)

this could be fun convincing them they have bugs in their system, since accelerometer should still record rapid vertical acceleration but that wouldn't translate to much change of latitude/longitude in gps... think "tower drop" carnival rides, bungee jumping, fast elevators, etc...

Re:Seems straightforward enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021429)

You could estimate someone's position from cell handoff too, if you included that in the data, but then you'd have to be *trying* to be creepy ;-)

We *are* talking about insurance companies here.

Drive too much? (3, Insightful)

abelb (1365345) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020933)

How long before the insurance company succumbs to the temptation of penalizing those who use their cars too much? The more time you spend on the road the higher the chance that you'll be involved in an incident, regardless of how well you drive. You can see how such information could be used to discriminate against people living in rural areas and those living further from their place of work.

Re:Drive too much? (5, Informative)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020955)

How long before the insurance company succumbs to the temptation of penalizing those who use their cars too much? The more time you spend on the road the higher the chance that you'll be involved in an incident, regardless of how well you drive. You can see how such information could be used to discriminate against people living in rural areas and those living further from their place of work.

I thought insurance companies already do this. Every company I've had a policy with has always wanted current and yearly mileage when I signed up. Driving fewer miles in a year resulted in lower premiums.

Re:Drive too much? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020995)

They also already "discriminate" based based on city / country driving (they ask for your address and it affects the premium), as well as different rates for on-street vs off-street parking.

Re:Drive too much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020973)

Your insurer doesn't ask you how much you use your car now?

Re:Drive too much? (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020999)

all they really ask is do you drive your car for work or personal and how many miles do you drive in a year. Here's a quick hint: ANything over 8000 miles per year increases your rate. Tell them you work from home and you drive an average of 20 miles a week. Your rate will drop.

Re:Drive too much? (4, Informative)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021221)

Tell them you work from home and you drive an average of 20 miles a week. Your rate will drop.

Until they cross reference your stated mileage against your MOT certificate and you get prosecuted for insurance fraud.

It's fraud (and these days, money laundering) and you get spanked for it. Don't lie to insurance companies*.

*Disclaimer: I work for an insurance company.

Re:Drive too much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021513)

Of course some one working at an insurance company says it's fraud.

But they are not really asking how many miles the wheels have rotated, you are asking how many insured miles the car is driven. For example normal insurances doesn't cover any damages while racing on closed tracks( or driving of road etc), so the miles racing on closed tracks doesn't count. For all you know the might drive 20 miles to/from the race track each weekend, and all those extra miles comes from racing.

Yes, fraud is fraud. But having the miles not adding up correctly isn't automaticaly fraud.

Re:Drive too much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020987)

How long before the insurance company succumbs to the temptation of penalizing those who use their cars too much? The more time you spend on the road the higher the chance that you'll be involved in an incident, regardless of how well you drive. You can see how such information could be used to discriminate against people living in rural areas and those living further from their place of work.

Chances are that their insurance premium will be lower (assuming credit information isn't used). Annual mileage is a big factor in premium calculation, but so are things like location, age, driving history. In rural areas the cars are likely to be older, cost less to replace. The number of cars per square mile is less so the chances of collision are probably lower than the city. All of these get taken into account.

Re:Drive too much? (3, Insightful)

Alex (342) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021017)

That's not discrimination, its common sense.

If you do more miles - all things being equal, you are more likely to have an accident - so it makes sense for the insurer to charge you more. The only reason they aren't doing it yet is they've not found a good way to measure it yet, I'm sure they are working on it though.

Presumably now you are going to complain about insurers "discriminating" against people who live on flood plains, in high risk crime areas and arsonists ?

Alex

Re:Drive too much? (2)

abelb (1365345) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021129)

I agree with the comments above. I think what gets me about this is that they're selling it as a benefit to drivers when in reality it's the insurance companies that have the most to gain.

Re:Drive too much? (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021207)

If this is on permanently, it still gives an incentive to drive carefully: It saves you money. Everyone benefits (including people who don't become casualties. Not that they will thank you for that, thankless bastards).

Bert

Re:Drive too much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021583)

Not having an ensurance is also an incentive to drive carefully. In most cases it would also save money. The incurance companies make money after all, and that's after they waisted money on lawyers, paperwork, bonuses and shit.

The fairer an ensurance is the more useless it becomes. If everyone pay their share, they could just pay their share without the middleman, by saving money each month and maybe taking a loan if/when needed.

Re:Drive too much? (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021335)

The more time you spend on the road the higher the chance that you'll be involved in an incident

From the insurance company's point of view, that's entirely the point. What about people in urban areas who rarely use their car paying for the accidents of regular drivers?

Re:Drive too much? (1)

Spamalope (91802) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021971)

What do you think will happen when the insurance company has a profit downturn and layoffs loom (or the CEOs stock options are at risk)? I bet they'd artificially downgrade drivers ratings and bump their rates to save a quarterly earnings report (and/or CEO bonus). I doubt this rating will be subject to any more consumer scrutiny than credit scores are.

If they're offered payment for the historical location data of all their customers, do you think the more likely response would be 'No, that would be unethical.' or 'Please make the check out to...'? The dubious protection from that stalking is the cell phone companies who devalued the data when they sold the information earlier.

Plead the 5th (4, Insightful)

LSDelirious (1569065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020961)

Letting them track you is like talking to a cop who's placed you under arrest... they might convince you that you're being given a chance to prove what an upstanding law abiding citizen you are, but in reality they're only looking for the incriminating parts to hold against you. Its the marketing folks jobs to come up with hypothetical situations where you can save money so you'll switch to their brand... its the bean counters and their lawyers jobs to see that you don't ever actually qualify for said hypothetical discounts, and you are giving them the ammo...

Re:Plead the 5th (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021339)

nobody is forcing you to take the deal after they penalise you. There's other insurance companies. It's worth a punt.

To hell with that. (3, Informative)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020977)

Progressive is already using a feature like this in the U.S. It's just not a smart phone app. It's actually a little box you put in your car. It's called Snapshot. [progressive.com] Not my kind of thing. There is just no way for the insurance company to know what is or is not going on around you when you're driving.

Re:To hell with that. (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021813)

There is just no way for the insurance company to know what is or is not going on around you when you're driving.

Aviva employs some of the best actuaries in the world - don't you think that they are capable of developing statistical models that take rare incidents into account? One swerve in thousands of miles of driving is going to appear as noise, a fast turn with hard acceleration on every corner is going to appear as a substantial crash risk.

Only 200 miles (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020989)

So I have to drive carefully for 200 miles to get my rating up and then I can turn it off and go back to my old habits? Or just swap phones with my mum for 200 miles? Or just not take my (primary) phone when I want to have some fun?

Re:Only 200 miles (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021051)

So I have to drive carefully for 200 miles to get my rating up and then I can turn it off and go back to my old habits? Or just swap phones with my mum for 200 miles? Or just not take my (primary) phone when I want to have some fun?

Well, if you give it to your mum you will have to explain to the insurance company why you spend every night at my place.

Why is this not a good thing? (3, Insightful)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021045)

For years insurance companies have been doing the exact same thing of estimating how good or bad a driver you are based on your age, gender, occupation etc. Now they're proposing to allow you to determine how good a driver you are based on using an app for not too long of a time really.

Is there a potential for it to be misused, yeah, but I'd welcome any move to judge my driving over lumping me in with a particular age group or gender.

Re:Why is this not a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021117)

Because they will know exactly what roads you are on, what the exact speed limits are, how long you stop at stop signs, change lanes and how quick you accelerate, etc. They will also know your driving habits. You drive 48 miles per day round trip to work, during rush hour in bumper to bumper traffic on the freeway. You work 5 days a week. You drive 22 miles on the weekend, avg. Ohh my... you're ripe for someone to hit you. Sorry, *NO* discount for you.

Re:Why is this not a good thing? (1)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021571)

Well first of all I will take issue with your math, if you're doing a 48 mile round trip, you will cover 192 miles within the first 4 days, so you would only be monitored for 8 miles on the Friday and then how would they have any idea what your weekend journeys are?

Second, could they not roughly work out the same information from your mileage in a year?

From what I can see, they are proposing to move away from the model of generalisations, which for me, a young male driver, is welcome news. A girl I know who was the same age as me when she started driving and had nothing different from me other than the car (which was actually more powerful) was quoted nearly €1000 less than me. That seemed massively unfair to me. If there was option of something like that, that charges you on the basis of your actual driving as opposed to your demographics, I'll welcome it any day of the week.

Re:Why is this not a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021883)

Trust me, you won't welcome this. Insurance works like this: take in money, making sure you're paid every dime you're "owed", while not paying out claims, whether legitimate or not.

Now, to enable that, they put people into groups. Statistically, some members of each group are going to have incidents. If you are one of those, YOU SUDDENLY DON'T BELONG TO THAT GROUP. Nope. Now you belong to a group that pays more. You never belong to a group that pays less.

So, you'll still be grouped by age, occupation, and gender. It's just that these little spy devices will give them reasons to raise your rates even before you get into an accident.

Slippery sloppy slope (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021073)

Sounds like malignant nonsense. And I hope people don't accept it, else we might soon need smartphones to obtain drivers-licenses. Insurance companies, although happily masquerading as safety-options, are mafia in disguise. They have purchased their way into government and become mandatory by force, compelling people to pay for protection whether they want it or not. Of course drivers need protection from the irresponsible or even honest accidents (collisions) of others, but with such a huge amount of them being fender-benders, which premiums don't cover, insurance companies make fortunes forcing people to pay for what they might do, and often never do - nor get compensated for. I'm not suggesting that the concept of insurance is necessarily intrinsically flawed; but the current model is a state-sponsored scam. They offer "rewards" of reduced extortion fees to those who behave well and age over time. But what about the person who drives for 50 years and never has an accident? If these insurance companies are mandated by force, then they should likewise be mandated by force to offer rebates to the families of deceased drivers who payed for protection but never used it.

They have monopolized upon the hypothetical, or at best the questionably statistical, and have done so with minimal mercy for their subjects. I am more than 100% for safety, so much that I will volunteer my time to empower it, but let us not confuse safety with horse-shit.

A lot of social studies have been done on games and the motivating factors behind them that breed such (understandably) fanatical enthusiasms. Is it so difficult to imagine that we are being gamed ourselves?

Re:Slippery sloppy slope (2)

LSDelirious (1569065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021215)

Slippery Slope indeed! I don't see the govt requiring smartphone monitoring for the license (unless they just make it a part of "citizenship"), but I could easily see the 200 mile "trial period" being extended indefinitely so that you always had to be monitored to get discount, which like all the 1 sided contracts coporations push can be changed at any time, meaning any action they disapprove of could invalidate the "discount". And of course this would eventually morph into always be monitored to have a policy in the first place... and since insurance is required by law that might as well be the same as a license requirement in that without "voluntary" gps monitoring you won't be able to legally drive

Maybe if we explain real slowly to the foxtards how they are having to pay more than their fair share into the insurance pool to cover other drivers, we can get them all frothed up about this government mandated "Socialism" and get the requirement repealed lol

Most stupid idea ever (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021083)

The idea to customize insurance up to individual profiles is completely opposite to the very first idea of the insurance itself which is a way to share a risk within a large pool of fellows in order to distribute the cost. If you start building precise profiles of individuals and charge them accordingly, you defeat the idea behind the insurance. At term, you will charge the whole risk to each individual and they will no longer see advantages to insure themselves. Insurance is about sharing a risk over the largest population possible.

Re:Most stupid idea ever (1)

Framboise (521772) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021127)

Between zero and full risk sharing, are you able to imagine *partial* risk sharing?

Re:Most stupid idea ever (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021211)

The advantage of being insured is that you are allowed to drive the car on a public road. If you didn't pay attention during drivers' ed, are generally a reckless driver or otherwise a high risk, why should your premiums not go up? Where's the motivation to be a safe driver when everybody just pays the same? Do you think it's unfair that premiums increase after an accident, or should everybody just chip in for the idiots who bump into every single car in the parking lot and run over pedestrians every opportunity they get?

Re:Most stupid idea ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021767)

And you think that general statistical data accurately predicts whether a driver is good? I tend to drive more aggressively than the average driver but try not to take risks and haven't been in an accident yet, but I'm sure I'd be penalised by this type of system without really deserving it.

Re:Most stupid idea ever (2)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021255)

The idea to customize insurance up to individual profiles is completely opposite to the very first idea of the insurance itself which is a way to share a risk within a large pool of fellows in order to distribute the cost.

Why do you think this? That happens to be the primary implementation in consumer markets due to the difficulty of accurately assessing individual risk, but it's also possible to go to an insurance company and get a very individualised tailored policy covering something nobody else on the planet has - e.g. a supermodel's legs.

Insurance is about sharing a risk over the largest population possible.

No. Insurance is about offsetting a risk. Sharing it over a large population is often a more efficient mechanism, but far from essential.

Re:Most stupid idea ever (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021443)

That's why life insurance premiums don't discriminate based on your age and whether you are a smoker, right?

Texting (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41021121)

Does it jack up your rates if you text or talk on the phone while driving?

mediocracy (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021139)

The modern world is based on statistics and conforming to expectations, whether that's an aptitude test determining what you're "probably" good at to some crude metrics determining whether you're "probably" a safe driver. Everyone is fitted into neat little categories and self-fulfilling prophecies are created, reinforcing existing prejudices and providing little scope for social improvement.

No more is this true than with driving: young men are essentially told that they are high risk. It's like the classical story of parents who started being fined for picking up their kids late from school, so ended up doing it more because they thought they'd now paid for the right to fetch their kids late.

MAPFRE YCar (3, Informative)

paugq (443696) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021187)

How is this new?

In Spain, MAPFRE has been offering for at least 4 years the YCar line of insurance for young drivers which offers as much as a 40% discount if you install a GPS-like device which sends them information about when you drive, what speed you drive, how many kilometers, etc.

If you speed up, drive on "dangerous" hours (e. g. weekend 2 AM - 6 AM), etc, you lose the discount for next year.

http://www.mapfre.com/seguros/es/particulares/soluciones/seguros-coches-jovenes-ycar.shtml [mapfre.com]

There are several policies to choose and some of them even allow to adjust the policy clauses, for instance in case you are a young driver who works the night shift.

Some game theory problems (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021445)

The reality is that everybody thinks they are above average driver. So if they get a score that is below average, they know they will pay more to offset the drivers who pay less. So they simply walk away. So ultimately exactly half of the drivers would get a worse deal in a perfect world. The insurance company will end up with better than average drivers only ... but these drivers will pay less insurance. The insurance company pays out less but earns less per driver. That is a one to one relationship, so the insurance company has no incentive to do this ... unless people naturally think they are better than average drivers or they think that can fool this application. Then people will flock and the app can be no more an app that has an image of two cog wheels that at the end of 200klms simply tells you that you have qualified for a discount. No different than what happens now that there is a myriad of insurance companies that "specialise" in different groups. You go to three companies and one specialises in people with mustaches and you get a discount at that one. Your sense of value is created by the other two and the third springs the trap. The reality is that there are only a couple of insurance companies and the rest are simply fronts.

Re:Some game theory problems (1)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021743)

I think you are partially right. I’ll presume that when the insurance company manages to rid itself of the bottom half of its driver pool, its payouts decrease more than its collected premiums. In effect, the insurance company is defecting against its competitors by sticking them with the higher cost customers.

subject (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021687)

If anyone thinks the scumbag insurance companies are going to give anyone a 20% discount, I have some prime swamp land for you.

Re:subject (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021811)

And that would be the truth. In reality, good drivers get to keep their current rates, bad drivers rates go up by 20%.

I have the answer to fix people's driving habits.. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41021807)

Bring back personal liability. If you drive like an ass, you cause an accident, you are liable for all damages you caused. not your insurance company, YOU.

you were busy texting and hit a motorcyclist? everything you own is now the property of the motorcyclists family, as well as 50% of all your income for the next 30 years.

You dont want that liability? then buy $10,000 of liability insurance at $1500 a month, or stop driving like a moron.

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