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Data Leads to Safer Driving, Not Just Lower Premiums

Robert Regis Hyle | June 05, 2015

The value of all the data collected today by insurers is not limited to what carriers can learn about their customers; it also will enable insurers to be proactive with their insurance coverage rather than reacting to a claim.  

The prevention of claims through the use of social media—such as when severe weather is forecast for a community—has proven to be successful in two ways: Customers can lower the loss total if simple tips are followed and, even more important, it makes for appreciative customers.

Many insurers have been collecting data for telematics and user-based insurance programs for a few years now and we can begin to see some of the benefits pulled from billions of miles of monitored driving habits.

Progressive Insurance, with its Snapshot program, recently released a report on the average distance and time it takes for drivers to stop safely. Progressive labeled the study as the Lead Foot Report.

For instance, Progressive explains driving schools have traditionally instructed new drivers to keep four seconds between their car and the car in front of them, but driving at 60 MPH, Progressive believes it takes 12 seconds to stop when travelling at that speed.

"After analyzing Snapshot driving data, we’ve found hard braking to be one of the most highly predictive variables for predicting future crashes," says Dave Pratt, general manager of usage-based insurance for Progressive. "We know that one of the main contributors to hard braking is tailgating, so we’re using our data to help drivers be as alert and aware as possible on the road.”

Other samples from the report

  • When comparing men and women’s average braking habits, the safest male drivers have 77 percent fewer hard brakes than the most aggressive female drivers.
  • While many assume teen drivers fall within the riskiest driver category, in actuality the safest quarter of 16 year-olds have fewer hard brakes than the average driver in every age decade.
  • The report also examines median speeds by drivers in each state. Alabama and Mississippi drivers clock the highest median speed in a one-day period, coming in at 40 MPH, meaning half of all driving in these states is faster than 40 mph and half is slower. Meanwhile, the slowest median speed can be found in Washington, D.C. at 24 MPH.

Understanding the data and getting drivers to follow the inevitable recommendations are two distinctly different problems, but as UBI increases, insurers are holding the carrot of discounts for safe driving in front of their customers. At a safe distance, of course.


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