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
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?