Sprint Offering Usage-Based Tracking Technology to Insurers

Following a pilot program partnership with Esurance, Sprint announced Thursday that the wireless provider intends to assist insurers in setting up usage-based insurance (UBI) programs through use of its wireless network.

Sprint utilized its wireless network and information systems to create its Integrated Insurance Solutions (IIS) product, which was used in a “successful” usage-based test run with Esurance policyholders in Arizona. The insurer, which was purchased by Allstate in a billion-dollar buy last year, recently launched its first UBI program in Texas “based on the success of that program,” according to a Sprint statement.

Under Esurance’s latest UBI program, drivers have a chance to get cheaper car insurance in Texas. IIS works similarly to other usage-based programs: drivers can go online themselves to review their driving data and view coverage discounts that could be available with safer driving behaviors.

Drivers in Esurance’s program have the ability to save up to 30 percent on insurance, according to Esurance.

As the first company of its kind to parlay its nationwide telecommunications apparatus into a UBI program, Sprint is offering IIS as a three-month “jump start trial” to all insurers, which the company is calling an “industry first.”

“Sprint has assembled all the necessary components together so that insurers have a single point of contact for all UBI-related needs,” Matt Carter, president of global wholesale and emerging solutions at Sprint, said in a statement.

That should make it easier for insurers to launch their own usage-based programs rather than develop and implement the technology on their own.

The recent news follows other major developments in the usage-based arena, including Progressive announcing last week that it was opening up its Snapshot program to customers at all insurers as a one-month trial. Under the offer, policyholders receive the device and use it for a month before viewing the possible discounts and deciding if they want to stay with their insurance company or switch to Progressive.

Snapshot was one of the first usage-based programs and has long been one of the largest for years, and is currently available in 42 states. But competing programs from The Hartford, State Farm and others have since edged into its territory.

Sprint’s latest move kicks the competition into high gear. IIS will include other “value-added” tools on the Internet, according to Sprint, including monitoring of a car’s condition and location.

Esurance officials said such tools are aligned with the insurer’s forward-looking attitude.

“Our embrace of UBI fits with Esurance’s approach to using the latest technology, and is a great fit for our customer base of self-directed, tech-savvy customers,” Chris Henn, Esurance managing director of products, said in a statement.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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