Americans expect companies to deliver delightful digital experiences. Though most auto insurers have a long way to go, some have rolled out features to win over customers. Here’s a look at what insurers are doing today — and what they might try next.
Tracking driving for discounts, rewards
Many major insurers now offer telematics, technology that collects information about your driving behavior, in exchange for discounts or rewards. Customers who plug a device into their cars’ diagnostic ports to allow the company to monitor their driving can earn discounts. The technology — which tracks data like acceleration, hard braking, time of day and how much you drive — is also available in an app.
Setting prices based on your (actual) driving
A startup, Root Insurance, is pricing based on how you drive, which could save money for safe drivers. The insurance, currently available in 19 states with plans for five more, tracks driving behavior during a two- to six-week “test drive” before giving you a quote. The company still considers some demographic factors, but it isn’t as interested in your personal details, said CEO and co-founder Alex Timm.
Evaluating driving to curb bad habits
Depending on the program, drivers may get immediate feedback through in-app driving reports and scores, or even from devices that beep when drivers brake hard or turn too sharply. Insurers are also targeting distracted driving. Because crashes often result in claims, insurers hope to see a decrease by monitoring cellphone use, a common driving distraction.
Using Alexa to help you at home
Customers at Liberty Mutual, the first auto insurer to develop a voice-activated resource for Alexa, can get a car insurance estimate or ask general insurance questions while doing household chores, for example. Allstate focuses on existing customers’ claim and policy questions, including due dates for bills and finding agents. Speeding up claims with video
Esurance was first to introduce damage claims via video appraisals, allowing customers to more quickly get an estimate. Through the insurer’s mobile app, drivers can start claims, make an appointment, document damage and speak to their appraiser. And newer technology is making its way to the U.S.: dashboard cameras that record the road as you drive.