/ Money, Motoring

Would you share your social media data with an insurer?

Social media data

Insurers would love to look through your social media data – but do you want to share it?

Last week Admiral revealed plans to launch a new voluntary service for younger drivers to scan Facebook data to generate a quote. Using the ‘Firstcarquote’ app, prospective customers would give Admiral permission to scrutinise a snapshot of their Facebook profile to generate an insurance quote.

Reportedly, Admiral’s algorithms would assess this data for insights into the customer’s personality, analysing writing style and the use of calendars or accounting apps to help make a judgement about how risky a driver they might be. And depending on the outcome of the analysis, there was a potential 15% price reduction in it for the driver.

But just hours after the announcement, Facebook declared that this wouldn’t be happening – insurers sifting through their users’ profiles was a breach of the social media site’s privacy rules.

While this proved something of a bad PR day for Admiral, the exchange doesn’t necessarily eradicate the idea. Indeed, the chief executive of insurance giant RSA soon afterward speculated that social media data could become an invaluable tool for insurers in calculating risk – provided access was given by the customer voluntarily.

Surveillance based pricing

Already you give over a great deal of personal information when applying for a normal insurance quote. Yet certain groups of drivers (particularly those under 25) often face sky-high premiums and excesses that seem arbitrarily linked to age rather than how carefully they drive or their tendency to claim.

To help mitigate this, insurers have introduced ‘telematics’ schemes.

Usually in the form of a small box that’s added to your car to automatically track your driving – allowing the insurer to take into account factors such as the times and speeds at which you drive, plus your cornering and braking skills – when tallying up your renewal.

And more recently, insurers have launched policies where your smartphone is used to track your driving.

In short, you surrender some of your privacy for a more personalised quote.

Allowing an insurer to scour your social media profile advances this further, and of course begs the question as to what specifically they’re looking for, and whether you’d be able to tweak parts of it to make you seem a ‘safer bet’.

If it could lower your premium, would you allow an insurer to access your social media data?

No - I wouldn't allow access (50%, 557 Votes)

I don't have a social media account (40%, 440 Votes)

Yes - I'd allow full access (5%, 58 Votes)

Yes - but only limited access (5%, 57 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,112

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Social sharing

Is this a step too far?

Ultimately, would you be willing to give your insurer more of a glimpse into your personal life if it was highly likely to reduce your quote? Or (like Facebook in this instance), do you think that your social media data isn’t for your insurer’s eyes?


Shouldn’t the title be ‘Would YOU share ……….

Yes it should Alfa, apologies for the oversight – an honest mistake

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I don’t see a problem with an insurance company offering a discount to those who allow their driving to be monitored. I thought that it was unfair that as a young driver I had to pay a high premium simply because I was young, and not related to risk. Monitoring driving is a way that risk can be quantified rather than estimated. My motor insurance premium is low because because I am older and there are no claims or convictions to push up the price. If I was younger I might have opted to be monitored.

I do not share personal information on social media, but many do. There is far too much monitoring of our online activities by companies and other organisations, and unless action is taken to stop Admiral and other gaining access, the problem will get worse. I have never used Admiral but if they intend to collect data in this way, I never will.

If we had acted promptly, I believe that nuisance calls and spam email could have been nipped in the bud. Perhaps it is not too late to stop Admiral et al. from taking a step too far.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user