Telematics has had a profound impact on the automotive industry of late, even affecting the auto insurance industry. Progressive was the first insurance company to leverage telematics technology for its Snapshot in-car monitoring device, released in 2008, while Allstate and State Farm followed up with Drive Wise and Drive Safe, respectively.
Since these products' initial releases, each company has striven to improve its respective technology. Allstate, for example, announced plans to put Drive Wise to the test this week by putting it in the hands of employees and Allstate agency owners. This crowdsourcing technique will leverage a large portion of the company's work force to improve Drive Wise and expand Allstate's telematics footprint.
Drive Wise was previously only available in Illinois, Ohio and Arizona, but Allstate has been looking to expand into additional states before the year's end. This upcoming crowdsourcing test is a prelude to state expansion, providing Allstate with valuable driving data to add to its 350,000 hours of data already recorded.
Internal data already shows very promising results. While only 25 percent of the initial test group scored in the ideal "safe zone" at first, the figure rose to 75 percent by the end of the testing period.
"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, senior vice president 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."
Drive Wise utilizes telematics technology to track driving behavior. The device simply plugs into the OBD-II port found under the dashboard of most cars made after the 1996 model year. This small, wireless device track driving habits which users can view online, along with suggestions on how to improve driving safety.
Participants of Allstate's Drive Wise program are rewarded with a 10 percent discount during their first policy term. Savings can increase up to 30 percent based on recorded driving scores.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman