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Data & Analytics

12:11 PM
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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Are Americans Ready to Trust Telematics?

A survey finds "consumers’ desire to … [use] connected devices and technology to help them make better decisions" — can this apply to insurance?

Insurers' hunger for more data on their prospects and policyholders in order to make better decisions, but many are still skeptical of sharing their personal information. However, if a survey from a Harris Interactive and solar energy provider Sunrun is to be believed, the tide may be turning.

A majority of the 2,022 Americans over age 18 surveyed (55%) are already using mobile, wearable, and smart devices in their homes and lives to gather/track personal data. About three-quarters " express interest in using and/or do use connected technology specifically in their home to collect and track personal data." The top drivers for using such technology include saving money (45%) and staying organized (41%).

The survey mostly covered home-energy monitoring smart devices, like thermostats, due to Sunrun's business model. And increased adoption of those types of devices could impact home insurance — see our roundup from earlier this year.

But it also begs another question: Are consumers, even after the NSA domestic surveillance exposé and numerous other cautionary tales about the ubiquity of personal data, ready to turn over even more for things like usage-based insurance programs?

Perhaps it just a matter of awareness, as Sunrun co-CEO Lynn Jurich suggests: "As consumers become more aware of new technology to track their lifestyle, they will be able to make more informed decisions to live smarter," she stated.

However, clearly the trade-off for any sort of increased data-gathering by insurance companies will have to be robust and transparent to avoid a public relations disaster.

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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