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Insurance Telematics, Code Halos, Gamification and Privacy

Data ownership and privacy are two big issues that we all need to be thinking about these days

Data ownership and privacy are two big issues that we all need to be thinking about these days. Mobile, telematics and IoT technologies have reached the point that it is very easy and cost effective to track the location of just about anything.  What personal information are you willing to give up in order to get a better insurance rate?  We are seeing more business models these days based upon personal data and tracked activities and locations which should be giving each of us a sense of urgency to think through these issues.

Peter Abatan, Program Manager for Mobility Services with Studio13 at Cognizant shares some of these considerations with us here.

A couple of weeks ago, Quindell and RAC in the UK announced that it has launched a £100m scheme for black boxes to be installed in cars. RAC aims to sell these telematics tracking devices to its 2.5 million members in order to help safe drivers reduce their premiums, plus the opportunity to drive additional revenue by monetizing the data (using the Code Halos).

I am not too sure that this strategy is something that most drivers will buy into for the following reasons:

  1. It does not really offer the customer a substantial benefit that is quantifiable. If the customer realizes that this approach will only save them a nominal cost it is unlikely to motivate them to pay for the device to drive the premium down by just £100 or there about.
  2. I never automatically renew my motor insurance with the same company, as I am always searching for the best deal when my policy is about to end. In general, car policy buyers are becoming more informed to make sure they do not renew their insurance without shopping around for the best deals.

Today the conversation around privacy is a very sensitive issue, and RAC may find out that the desire to lower premiums may be trumped by the need for privacy. For example we already know that the probability of having an accident during the night is higher than during the daytime. If as an individual I do more driving in the night than in the day, why would I have a box installed in my car when it will drive up my premiums in the long run?

There is also the issue of driver's location being monitored, and the law enforcement asking to give up data on an individual's whereabouts. These are decisions that will weigh heavily on the mind of customers as to whether or not they should have these boxes installed.

At the beginning of the year at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Ford marketing head Jim Farley sparked a fury among privacy advocates when he said during a panel discussion, "We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it". He went on to say "We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone."

The alternative approach should be that the customers choose to install the black box themselves and choose which data they want to share with their insurance company. The more data they are willing to share the higher the possibility for lower premiums, this with the option to no longer share that data at any time they wish, will make for a good proposition.

This is the whole idea behind the concept of the quantified-self. The individual is in charge of their data and they choose what part of that entire dataset they want to share or to withhold. This is why I see the RAC/Quindell initiative as a high-risk strategy that might not yield the returns that it is hoping for.

While the idea of giving holders of health or life policies heart rate monitors sounds like a ludicrous idea, on the other hand the idea of giving policy holders the opportunity to upload data to indicate that they have a consistent active lifestyle and not at risk of a serious health issue or sudden death might encourage some policy holders to share this data because they like what they have achieved to reduce any of the aforementioned risks and would like to be rewarded for it.

It is important to note that for some policyholders, the reward has to be seen as substantial, otherwise it may not be enough for them to want to participate. This is where gamification comes into its own and where web portals like MapMyRun andTraining Peaks would begin to benefit from helping to develop the concept of the quantified self.

In using gamification to create excitement, there also has to be rewards for consistent performance. Independent portals for driving behavior where car drivers can show off their good driving skills may give insurers the opportunity to reward good driving not just in terms of lower premiums but rewards through gamification. These rewards will go to individuals whether they hold the sponsors policy or not.

According to a USA Today editorial, it was reported that 94% of all new cars manufactured today have black boxes. If that is the case, then car companies need to begin open up that data source such that it is easy for the owners to monitor and manage their own data, which can in turn be provided to the insurer should they desire to do so. This will cause initiatives like RAC/Quindell to review its strategy, as it will eliminate what is already considered a very fragmented market in terms of device and data interoperability.

This should be the approach that RAC and Quindell considers without locking the customer into a black box that would no longer be useful should the policyholder decide to change insurer. Hence, it makes sense that insurers do not reinvent the wheel but seek to partner with car manufacturers so that car owners can access that data that insurers need to reward what is considered good behavior on the roads.

1. USA Today. January 15, 2014. - Is your car's black box the next privacy battlefield?

Peter Abatan is a project manager and a team member of Studio13, which provides product and service design to a wide variety of Cognizant's customers.


Kevin Benedict Writer, Speaker, Editor Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant View my profile on LinkedIn Learn about mobile strategies at Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict Browse the Mobile Solution Directory Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

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