Allstate announced the launch of Arity, an independent subsidiary focused on the connected car, last fall, but the company's mission goes beyond simply that burgeoning data source, says president Gary Hallgren.

"Arity is a data company — an insight company, really — whether or not it's data from fitness sensors or home sensors," Hallgren says. "But everything out of the gate so far is focused on the connected car."

That's because the company is benefiting from the wealth of data its parent company has gathered from its DriveWise programs and other telematics initiatives — 22 billion miles in total, according to Hallgren. That data can be used to develop models and products not just for auto insurance but for ridesharing and roadside assistance as well.

"It would be nice to know if your rideshare driver has a good score because he's a good driver, not just because his car smells nice," Hallgren explains.

Even though Allstate's telematics data is providing the baseline for Arity, it's not just working on behalf of that insurer. Arity is looking to develop products to sell to the full universe of insurance companies, roadside assistance companies or ridesharing firms, or whatever other kinds of businesses emerge from the rapidly evolving connected vehicle realm.

"There's going to be models that change," Hallgren explains. "There's going to be a period of time where humans interact with other humans, then humans interact with [partially or fully autonomous] cars, then cars interact with cars. There's still going to be a need for people to manage risk."

Arity's independence, but funding mechanism via the Allstate corporation puts it in a unique position vis a vis the growing insurtech movement. The company is headquartered in downtown Chicago, with a staff of about 350 and more on the way, according to Hallgren. Other companies may be smaller, and not have as consistent a source of data and funding, but Hallgren says they are all working toward the same goal.

"We all know transportation is incredibly inefficient," Hallgren says. "Other companies may not have the mass but they have smart people as well. I'm a believer that the ones with most data has the inherent advantage."

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