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3 Things Snapshot Has Taught Progressive

Progressive usage-based insurance manager Dave Pratt shared some of the insights the carrier has gleaned from its long-running Snapshot usage-based insurance program.

One of the most highly anticipated sessions from day one of the Insurance Telematics USA show, at Chicago's Radisson Blu hotel, was Progressive usage-based insurance GM Dave Pratt's presentation on the company's Snapshot product and its related licensing agreement. Pratt also appeared on a panel discussion later in the day discussing potential ways UBI data can help change driver behavior to reduce claims losses. Following are some interesting anecdotes he shared over the course of the day:

1. There are more cars on the road on Friday evenings

Progressive is headquartered in a suburb of Cleveland, and many of its employees drive to work. One day, Pratt said, employees were lamenting the length of their Friday evening commutes compared to other days of the week. The company checked the Snapshot data to find out what was going on. It turns out that there are 8% more cars on the road on Friday evenings, based on the number of post-commute data calls made by the Snapshot device. Is it simply a matter of people not wanting to work late on Friday?

2. A quarter of driving time is spent idling

Progressive wondered: What's the most common speed at which a car travels? Turns out that's 0 miles per hour: 25% of driving time is spent idling, more than any other speed the company studied. And, we don't drive as recklessly as we might think on the expressway: The amount of time spent driving faster than 75 miles per hour "rounds to zero," Pratt said.

3. Drivers respond to real-time feedback

Newer versions of the Snapshot device beep when a person has a "hard braking event," Pratt says, and that has had a positive effect on policyholder behavior. "You do see the driving score change -- we have data that says people who get that kind of feedback have fewer accidents," he adds. "But I see that as real-time feedback 1.0. You want to do more, but you do not want to distract people while they're driving either. There's a balance to be struck." Pratt says he also has heard impassioned defenses of hard-braking events from drivers all across the spectrum of scores, from the best to the worst.

[Consumers 'receptive' to telematics, survey says]

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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