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 (www.hum.com) 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 (www.automatic.com) 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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