Update 11/3/2016: An Admiral spokesperson has provided INN with a statement: “Firstcarquote, which will allow first time drivers to voluntarily share some social data with insurers for a simple and discounted quote, is currently a beta product. Admiral does not have access to customers’ Facebook data and does not hold social media data to set prices for its customers. Following discussions with Facebook the product is launching with reduced functionality, allowing first time drivers to login using Facebook and share some information to secure a faster, simpler and discounted quote.”
Interesting news from across the pond today: An insurance company's plan to help young drivers get better rates by using their social media account was delayed as quickly as it was announced.
UK insurance company Admiral had planned to roll out its firstcarquote offering today. The idea was to help young drivers get better rates by allowing them to use their Facebook posts to supplement traditional rating factors.
"New drivers are often quoted much higher insurance premiums as they have little driving history, zero No Claims Bonus and are viewed as 'high risk,'" Admiral said on its site announcing the initiative.
The idea was more fleshed out in The Guardian:
The insurer will examine posts and likes by the Facebook user, although not photos, looking for habits that research shows are linked to these traits. These include writing in short concrete sentences, using lists, and arranging to meet friends at a set time and place, rather than just “tonight”.
In contrast, evidence that the Facebook user might be overconfident – such as the use of exclamation marks and the frequent use of “always” or “never” rather than “maybe” – will count against them.
But just hours before the launch, Facebook put the kibosh on the app, citing privacy concerns. Facebook said in a statement to The Telegraph:
"We have made sure anyone using this app is protected by our guidelines and that no Facebook user data is used to assess their eligibility. Facebook accounts will only be used for login and verification purposes.
"Our understanding is that Admiral will then ask users who sign up to answer questions which will be used to assess their eligibility."
After that announcement, Admiral included the following in the FAQ section of the initiative's page:
"A previous version of firstcarquote allowed you to share additional data with us. However, the current version of the product does not have this feature. We do not have access to customers' Facebook data, and never had access to anything that customers didn't voluntarily share with us."
INN has reached out to Admiral and Facebook for comment. Requests were not returned by publication.
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