Progressive announced this week the debut of its car insurance program Snapshot for Tennessee auto insurance policyholders.
The usage-based insurance (UBI) program, which is now available in 44 states, measures behavior behind the wheel, including miles and times of day driven, and prices participants’ auto policies based on those habits.
Snapshot participants receive a device from Progressive that they plug into their vehicle’s diagnostic port. After a month of tracking driving data through the device, Snapshot adjusts the participant’s policy rates based on his or her driving behavior.
Policyholder discounts for safer driving behaviors, like driving less and during the day, average $150 a year, according to Progressive, which said that 1.6 million drivers have participated in Snapshot.
“Now, Tennessee drivers are just 30 days away from saving with Snapshot,” Dave Pratt, Progressive’s general manager of UBI products, said in a statement.
The only states where Snapshot is not available is California, Hawaii, Indiana, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Alaska.
Investors Debate Impact of Autonomous Tech on Car Insurers
Progressive was the subject of investment debate from Steve Kuhn, a partner at Pine River Capital Management, who told Bloomberg TV in an interview last month that recent advancement in autonomous car technology spells trouble for auto insurers like Progressive, which has made strides in the market over recent years.
“A child born today might never get a driver’s license,” Kuhn told Bloomberg TV, citing Google’s extensive testing of driverless cars and industry estimates that such vehicles will be available to consumers in a little more than a decade. In addition, regulatory obstacles are falling in states including Florida and California; California’s Department of Motor Vehicles recently issued testing regulations for the technology.
Kuhn said his hedge fund is betting against the auto insurance industry, which he predicts will see substantial drops in claims rates because of autonomous auto technology that cuts down the number of crashes. According to Kuhn, reports and crash data show that the scenario is already unfolding.
Brendan Matthews, a columnist for consumer advice website The Motley Fool, said this week that he “wasn’t convinced,” and countered Kuhn’s prediction by citing figures that show total premiums have increased nationwide despite lower crash figures.
“I’m happy that cars are getting safer every year, but I don’t expect that the need for car insurance will ever be eliminated,” Matthews said in the post.