GPS-Tracked Car Insurance
By Erick Schonfeld

(Business 2.0) – What if liability premiums were based not on demographics and DMV records but on actual driving habits? That's the idea behind Norwich Union's newest business. In a pilot program launched last year, the British insurer began to track 5,000 customers by placing GPS receivers in the trunks of their cars. Data from the devices will be used to adjust drivers' premiums from month to month. "We calculate everything from speed and acceleration to whether they're braking too early or too late at intersections," says project manager Robert Ledger. So far Norwich Union has collected data on about 1 million journeys, and its statisticians are using the information to recalculate its insurance tables. Next year it will make the technology available to the rest of its 3.5 million auto customers, hoping that the feedback will lead to fewer accidents—and thus higher profits. "Over time," Ledger says, "we think we can change people's behavior and make them safer drivers." — ERICK SCHONFELD