Telematics launches from Metromile and Southern Farm Bureau illustrate continuing industry shift

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Carriers continue to plow ahead with investments in usage-based insurance. Metromile, a pay-per-mile carrier, has launched Ride Along, which allows prospective customers to test whether or not their rates will change under a UBI plan without changing carriers. And Southern Farm Bureau has signed Arity, a division of Allstate, to power its own pay-how-you-drive program, giving the midsize insurer an inroad to the growing customer segment.

Both programs are based in mobile apps. Ride Along is a new component of Metromile's existing app; after driving with the app active for around two weeks, they have the option to sign on for Metromile if they like what they see. DriveDown, the Southern Farm Bureau/Arity initiative, allows customers who opt in to parlay their safe driving habits into deductible rewards. The new program also provides driver feedback.

Metromile says the coronavirus pandemic has increased customer interest, with squeezed consumers looking for ways to reduce their costs. Arity concurs: “As drivers continue to request insurance pricing that reflects their individual driving habits, it’s especially important for companies to leverage the power of telematics and empower drivers to use their data for their own benefit, especially during a major disruption, like COVID-19,” said Gina Minick, insurance product director at Arity.

For its part, Southern Farm Bureau said that it was looking for a partner to help it surface safe driving among its customers. “Safe driving is a very important issue for Southern Farm Bureau, and we are always looking for ways to protect our customers from the hazards of the road,” said Ben Kimmons, Southern Farm Bureau’s Vice President, Actuary and Research and Development. “With Arity’s deep expertise in insurance telematics, wealth of data insights through its 400+ billion miles of driving data, country-wide regulatory approval of its driver score, and engaging app design, we believe no other partner would be able to help us get our customers the experience, accuracy, transparency, and rewards that they deserve.”

Vehicles travel along a section of the Tullamarine Freeway undergoing widening works in Melbourne, Australia, on Monday, May 8, 2017. The spread between Australia's three-year and 30-year bonds has widened for three weeks as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government looks set to announce a slew of infrastructure projects for its annual budget and fund them with debt. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg
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Usage-based insurance