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TomTom Satnavs To Set Insurance Prices 605

Posted by samzenpus
from the unseen-mechanized-eye dept.
nk497 writes "TomTom has signed a deal with an insurance firm that will see its satnavs used to monitor drivers. Fair Pay Insurance, part of Motaquote, will use monitoring systems built into the TomTom PRO 3100 to watch for sharp braking and badly managed turns, rewarding 'good' drivers with lower premiums and warning less skilled motorists when they aren't driving as they should. 'We've dispensed with generalization's and said to our customers, if you believe you're a good driver, we'll believe you and we'll even give you the benefit up front,' said Nigel Lombard of Fair Pay Insurance."
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TomTom Satnavs To Set Insurance Prices

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  • by theNAM666 (179776) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @01:37AM (#38977945)

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/08/tomtom_insurance/ [theregister.co.uk]

    From the article intro:
    >The idea has been hovering in the ether for some time, but TomTom is the first satnav firm to sign on the dotted line and bring insurance to drivers through their GPS.

    >The Dutch company has joined up with Motaquote insurers to offer UK drivers "Fair Pay" insurance, where customers pay lower premiums because their satnav monitors how they're driving.

  • by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @01:58AM (#38978069) Homepage Journal

    It appears to be opt-in for an added discount.
    This is really no different than using iGoogle. You get free extra features on a landing page, they get more data.
    If you don't like it, then keep on your existing carrier. I will be staying with mine (AAA FWIW).
    -nB

  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:05AM (#38978107) Homepage

    It appears to be opt-in for an added discount.

    I assumed as much. I just saw a tv commercial for Progressive pimping their new opt-in datalogger. Same deal, the idea is to profile your driving habits to see if you qualify for a discount on your insurance. Theirs goes on the OBD port I guess. Just found this... http://jalopnik.com/138557/more-on-progressives-elective-black-boxes-for-usage+based-insurance [jalopnik.com]

  • Re:uh.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:10AM (#38978147)

    I work in the business of supporting software for these sorts of devices. Many models do have accelerometers, which isn't too surprising when you realize iPhones and other smartphones have them too. Dedicated plug-in devices (not the Garmins or other Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs)) also have OBD2 data collection which can then be sent back to the data farm of the service for collection and processing. That's all in addition to the usual GPS tracking. Fleets like Verizon and Sears, as well as thousands of Mom and Pop places already use dedicated devices in their vehicles and reports are run against them by their fleet managers and supervisors to derive all sorts of interesting interpretations.

    You'd be surprised how much money you can save in gas when you are a big enough fleet and you make sure your drivers simply shut off their vehicles instead of idling them. And certainly, your business can be helped by direct dispatching of vehicles to jobs via two-way communications to these PNDs instead of the old way of assigning trucks to geographic zones. Depending on how you wire things up, you can even tell if your bucket truck is actually using the bucket and when that happened.

    And yes, you can determine when drivers do a lot less innocent things like using company vehicles for private jobs, or more directly, actually stealing gas via siphoning by doing mileage comparisons against actual driven mileage.

    For individual consumers, insurance companies do things like check how many miles you drive, into what areas that you drive (ie. more or less risky areas), as well as hard breaking if the devices have that ability (and most newer ones do). With OBD2 devices, they might even be able to tell a normal consumer (and their insurance company) more about their car's functioning than they could get short of visiting a mechanic.

    Knowing what I know about how these devices can be used, I assure you, whether or not you benefit, the insurance company is always benefiting from this information. It's not always sinister, though. If you really have a low risk commute and you feel that you might be being overcharged, this may well be the way to go, but I wouldn't put this thing in a sports car or any vehicle you like to have a little fun in on a nice empty road.
     

  • Re:The silver lining (Score:4, Informative)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:25AM (#38978269)

    From police statistics it is proven that people that speed have a higher risk of accidents. It's a simple as that.

    Higher than what?

    I can't vouch for the rest of the world, but in the UK speeding is only the primary cause of a small percentage of accidents and most of them are extreme speeding (e.g. 60mph in a 30) rather than people doing 10mph above the limit.

    And numerous studies have shown that the safest drivers are around the 85th percentile by speed. They're certainly safer than those who mindlessly drive at the speed limit because they're unable to determine the safe speed for the conditions by themselves.

    lower speed makes roads safer

    Yet out here in the real world, motorways are the safest roads in Britain, and the speed limits are the highest and pretty much everyone routinely breaks them. Many of the accidents seem to be caused by speed-limited truck drivers falling asleep from the boredom of crawling along a road for hours where they could be driving much faster than they are.

  • Re:Speeding (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:37AM (#38978353)

    Apart from the fact that very often, it doesn't. (I still have a TomTom 920T, although it seldom gets used these days; it was their top model a few years ago though.) My maps were until recently regularly updated, mapshare updates were applied before every trip, but for a significant proportion of the speed limits around town it was off by a margin of as much as 20 miles per hour, and that's in the few places where it even pretended to know the limits.

    My Garmin is surprisingly accurate, both in town and on the highway. Often, the speed limit display changes the instant I pass a new speed limit sign. I haven't noticed any places where it hasn't been accurate, but most of my driving is either within a large urban area or on freeways - I don't do much small town driving. It's been quite handy, especially for freeway driving: "Hey, is this still a 70mph zone or did I miss a 55mph sign when I passed those trucks?"

  • by scdeimos (632778) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:38AM (#38978363)
    The PRO 3100, like all of the PRO series, is a semi-integrated satnav device that connects to your cars systems to do things other than turn-by-turn navigation - like monitor fuel consumption. The discounted insurance is dependant on you (a) having good driving habits, and (b) leaving the 3100 on for compliance monitoring. Switch it off and you'll get no discount.
  • Re:Speeding (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:45AM (#38978417)

    Consumer GPS devices aren't good for speed monitoring.

    Firstly, most of them calculate velocity by calculating differences in latitude and longitude and completely ignore altitude - which is why they read slower as you're going up and down hills.

    Secondly, they aren't overrated like your cars speedo - the speedometers in most new cars are calibrated to read 100kmh when you're actually doing 95kmh, working on the theory that you'll have less severe accidents if you're travelling 5% slower. Of course, speeding drivers could always turn around and class-action their governments to get money and points back for speeding tickets being filled out incorrectly (charging drivers with 5% more speed than they were actually doing) since LIDAR and RADAR units are calibrated using moving police vehicles - which also happen to have the overrated speedos.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:49AM (#38978749) Homepage Journal
    You have no idea. I'm an IT pro. With your loyalty card data I can tell how many kids you have and how well you feed them, whether you're sometimes or often broke, how often you take a shit. I might be able to tell not only your religion, but your adherence to its dietary restrictions. I can gauge your propensity for alcoholism or diabetes. All of this specifically linked to you as an individual. And you've given me permission to sell that data.
  • Re:I'll second that. (Score:5, Informative)

    by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:02AM (#38978807)

    Adjusting premiums to match individual risk does not eliminate the fundamental insurance benefits of risk and capital pooling -- you still get to free up all the capital you'd need to self-insure by pooling premiums from all policyholders, even if those policies have difference prices. If anything accurate risk assessment and pricing makes insurance more efficient; if risk is inaccurately estimated the insurance company itself takes on more risk and must charge a higher margin to justify the cost of that risk.

    That's not to say there aren't privacy implications, but I don't see the financial downside to better risk assessments with respect to insurance.

  • Re:The silver lining (Score:5, Informative)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @05:20AM (#38979139)

    From police statistics it is proven that people that speed have a higher risk of accidents. It's a simple as that.

    Police statistics also show that driving drunk is unsafe. Of course a sober driver driving home a drunk person who is struck while stopped at a light by a sober person who fell asleep is marked as "drinking related" and used to prove drinking kills. "Too slow for conditions" is included in "speed related" so someone driving 10 mph in the fast lane on a highway at night with no lights on is used in the statistics that prove "speed kills."

    Generalising: lower speed makes roads safer. Taken to the extreme to make the point: at walking speed not much can happen, and if something happens the damage is minimal.

    Drivers driving 15 mph above the limit are safest (proven by those police statistics you like so much). A stopped car can't avoid a moving hazard.

  • by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @06:15AM (#38979399)
    Right, so when you hit black ice and t-bone a car with a child that now need surgery to fix their shattered leg, are YOU going to be able to pay for that? A two car collision with serious injuries can easily cause close to a million dollars in medical costs. People that think insurance is to pay for their (and the other guy's) broken car are deluding themselves.
  • Re:I'll second that. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stormthirst (66538) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @07:40AM (#38979811)

    Also insurance (at least car insurance in the UK) covers other people too - which is a risk you can't calculate.

    If I have an accident, which is proven to be my fault, my insurance covers it*. That's why it is illegal to drive in the UK without some kind of insurance (3rd party cover in this case). The cost to me in the long run if I do have an accident which is proven to be my fault, goes up because the insurance company sees me as being a greater risk.

    If you're comfortable with idea of you crashing into a Ferrari, go ahead and self insure. I know I couldn't, so I buy insurance.

    * In the UK, you usually have to cover the first £100 - £500 depending on your policy, to stop frivolous claims.

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

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