Allstate said improved technology will eventually give the auto insurer a chance to boost revenue by selling customer driving data, much as Google profits by collecting information on those who use its search engine.
“There are lots of people who are monetizing data today,” Allstate chairman and chief executive officer Tom Wilson, said at an investment conference in New York. “You get on Google and it seems like it’s free. It’s not free. You’re giving them information; they sell your information.”
Wilson is preparing for a future of autonomous vehicles that ferry passengers and are safer than current fleets. While a lower frequency of accidents may limit demand for insurance, Wilson said Allstate could adjust to technological improvements.
Insurers are increasingly using data on customer habits to help analyze risks and set prices. The records also could be valuable to advertisers who want to know where potential customers travel and what hours they’re on the road.
“Could we, should we sell this information we get from people driving around to various people and capture some additional profit source and perhaps give a better value proposition to our customers?” asked Wilson, whose company is the largest publicly traded U.S. auto insurer. “It’s a long-term game.”
Some drivers may not initially like the idea of their insurers collecting more data, Wilson said, but that unease would tend to dissipate when people got discount insurance rates.
“We’re not seeing any huge consumer pushback,” he said. “You’ll see a rapid uptake when the pricing technology is right.”