Today, my (snail) mailbox contained a postcard from Verizon offering to turn my car into a connected car. To be more precise, the offer was to my 22 year old daughter – neither my wife nor I got the same offer (although a pop up ad appeared when I was reading about the new Hunger Games movie – again targeting a younger demographic). In essence, Verizon provides a device that plugs into the OBD port, a second device that clips on to the visor, and a smartphone app to control the service. This is an excellent example of other industries seizing on opportunities that should be prime territory for insurers.

Verizon’s hum service ( includes capabilities in six areas: roadside assistance, diagnostic alerts, a vehicle locator, a certified mechanics hotline, maintenance reminders, and hotel/car rental discounts. It’s being pitched as a great holiday gift – just plug it in and you are ready to go! This is by no means the only offer of this type. Other companies such as Automatic Labs ( sell OBD devices that provide a variety of services. Automatic has a “Do not disturb” app (Androids only) that keeps the phone quiet while driving to minimize distractions and reduce the urge to text. The Automatic device/apps will also alert the driver when exceeding the speed limit, track when the ignition is on/off, send help if you “crash,” and trigger actions like closing the garage door when leaving the house.   

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