Allstate Corp. said it is testing a smartphone application that is collecting drivers’ habits.
The application is being tested a few states so far, the Northbrook-based company’s CEO said at a conference in late May. Allstate currently has a driver-monitoring program using a device that plugs into a car. In return for safe driving, drivers qualify for insurance discounts.
The separate devices like Allstate’s current Drivewise and Progressive’s Snapshot are considered more accurate barometers of driving behavior than any apps that drivers might download on their cell phones. But the separate hardware is more expensive for insurers to make and smartphones, as they get smarter and more sensitive, lessen the need for separate devices.
Progressive announced plans last fall at the Chicago Auto Show to hold a contest for developers of mobile apps that can sense driving habits; the company said it would compare results of the mobile app in a car with the data gleaned from the Snapshot device in the same car to see how consistent they are.
Allstate also is hedging its bets on which path the industry takes in the long term.
“Our model is a little more expensive because it’s a little more hardware-intensive, although we’re testing a cell phone application in a couple of states right now,” Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson said May 28 at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference. “We’re investing tens of millions of dollars in telematics.”
Wilson didn’t specify in which states the testing was occurring.
Allstate has information about the mobile app on its website, including tips for how to download it on iPhone and Android.