Usage-based insurance brings close driver monitoring
In 2016, the US's third-largest property and casualty insurer, Liberty Mutual, announced it would partner with Subaru to enable drivers who have bought Subaru's Starlink infotainment system to download a car app that will notify them if they are accelerating too aggressively or braking too hard. The insurer's RightTrack programme, which began in 2012 and of which the app is a part, gives drivers a 5% discount for enrolling and further discounts of up to 30% for following the app's instructions for driving safely. As connected cars and usage-based insurance spread, analysts believe the result could be to preemptively raise drivers' rates rather than wait for them to have an accident. Other issues raised by this and similar programmes include how long insurance companies may hold the data and with whom they can share it; law enforcement access; and whether drivers who opt out on privacy grounds will be presumed to be higher-risk and charged accordingly. Insurers were also beginning to experiment with using phone accelerometers and GPS systems to watch drivers for unsafe behaviour and deploying a special device to plug into a port near the steering column to watch for hard or sudden turns of the wheel.
Writer: Brian Fung
Publication: Washington Post