Insurers Aim to Use New Technology To Make Cars “Marketing Machines”

Modern cars capture vast amounts of information about drivers through various computer technologies, tracking where drivers are going, when, and how they are driving. A new study from McKinsey and Company suggests that the future of car insurance lies in harnessing that data: by collecting and analyzing data collected from drivers, car insurers could turn the car into a “marketing machine.” As insurers face a future with fewer accidents, whether through crash-avoidance systems or autonomous vehicles, the McKinsey study states that insurers may seek to sell customer driving data as an alternate revenue source. Insurers have a distinct advantage in the data market—millions of drivers already provide reams of data to their insurer through “telematics” programs, and the insurer generally owns that data. Whether drivers have a right to know what the insurer knows is uncertain, and is up for review in front of certain state regulators.

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