GPS Tracked Car Insurance
Business 2.0 have picked a bunch of 25 companies that are outfoxing the competition through innovative solutions. Their choice for technology innovation is an idea piloted by Norwich Union that allows them to measure bad driving and alter insurance premiums accordingly through the use of GPS. In 2004 Norwich Union installed 500 GPS units in the cars of clients. Each month they ‘measure’ the driving habits and alter the insurance premiums accordingly. Lord knows how they actually measure ‘bad driving’ through the use of GPS – could they actually see if you mounted that kerb, maimed that pedestrian or ate that apple whilst riding the arse of the car in front? Insurance companies seem to be at the bleeding edge of technological advance when it comes to making us [financially] accountable for our behaviour and even for our genetic heritage.
Anyway,it would seem that the technology is not so much used to track bad driving so much as whether you are driving at all. In particular driving between the hours of 11pm and 6am when most accidents occur, apparently. This enables the company to set up an entirely new pay-as-you-go product. It is tailored to the 18-21 yr old market who’s premiums are usually so high. Ingenius.
What next? Life insurance packages that track whether you’re in the boozer?
The rise in the use and trade of personal and demographic information is a fascinating thing. From the flawed but powerful Acorn index to the credit rating data that companies like Experian produce. All this data is on the one hand defining and representing us, but could be used to control and manage us – through things like insurance postcode lottery.