Progressive announced it received a fourth patent for system technologies used with its Pay As You Drive, Snapshot usage-based insurance program.
Usage-based insurance has gotten a lot of press lately as several forward-thinking auto insurers, including Progressive, have begun to leverage telematics—fusing telecommunications hardware (GPS, wireless) with traditional information-gathering and analytics technologies.
Progressives latest U.S. patent—No. 8,090,598—relates, in part, to producing a driver safety score based on monitored driving data. Its usage-based insurance program—now available in 39 states and the District of Columbia—is designed to offer drivers the chance to lower their car insurance rates based on real-time analysis of their driving habits through the device designed to read and report a driver's habits back to the insurer. While this technology has been available for some time, Progressive claims to be the first insurer to bring it to the masses.
The Snapshot device, which plugs into the onboard diagnostic port (OBD-II) found near the steering wheel of most cars built after 1996, houses an array of telematics and mobile technologies. Progressive uses that data to calculate potential discounts. Over the past few years that car insurance group has tested and refined its program, nearly half a million drivers have participated, the insurer said.
"For more than 15 years we have invested a great deal into the research, development, testing and piloting of usage-based insurance programs and will continue to do so," said Glenn Renwick, Progressive's president and CEO. "It's gratifying to know that the U.S. Patent Office recognizes the uniqueness of our system technologies."
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