Opt into Being Tracked for Lower Rates

OUTsurance in South Africa is a very innovative insurance company, despite (because of?) being a fairly new company. One thing I recently heard of was a program where they install a device in your car that tracks you via GPS, the data is assessed for driver behavior and then you may be given lower rates based on that assessment. You can also log in to the website to see the records of your activity. Here’s details of the plan in this link to the company’s website. It appears that it’s firstly designed for people who drive less often, versus the average driver:

In fact, Safe_Driver@OUT is perfect for those of us who’d rather leave 5 minutes earlier for a meeting than driving recklessly and aggressively through traffic.

Safe_Driver@OUT has been designed for people who typically:
• drive less than 15,000 km per year;
• keep within the speed limit;
• do not drive through corners at excessive speeds;
• do not accelerate harshly;
• do not brake harshly; and
• do not often travel at night.

They are very upfront about tracking you, here’s how that is described:

We track your every move

Your driving behaviour is closely monitored by means of a Tracker Skytrax device that is fitted to your vehicle. This device will provide detailed reports on the position, speed and acceleration of your vehicle which will help us to accurately determine your premium.

At the end of every month, OUTsurance will e-mail you a record of your driving behaviour. You will also be able to log onto our website to view this. This data will only be available 30 days after the installation of the device.

As a sophisticated tracking device is fitted to your car to collect the required information, this product will not suit people who disconnect the battery when the vehicle is not in use.

As you can see, Safe_Driver@OUT goes far beyond just measuring how FAR you drive. We look at HOW you drive and use this data to scientifically calculate your insurance premium.

I don’t think it will be long before these types of things make it to the United States, and insurance will certainly be the first area where user behavior is monitored and the cost-benefit tradeoff is offered to users. Soon enough, not using these kinds of devices and programs will be the exception and rates will go sky-high for those that don’t. I’ve mentioned this before but I think that eventually governments will give out mobile devices for free and require you to use the freebie versions at least, or your own fully-compatible device to access local services like paying for parking. The parking meters (for example) will not only become dumber, they will disappear — policing will be in the cloud, with a simple sensor knowing that a vehicle is there and ID’ing it, and the user connected to that vehicle automatically getting dinged if they haven’t paid up for their parking, or have overstayed their welcome. Goodbye chalk marks on tires.