Data allows usage-based insurance

BMW S 1000 RR privacy data

Your motorcycle data could soon be monitored by insurance companies to adjust your premiums or payouts based on your riding behaviour history.

It has long been suspected that data loggers and other hi-tech devices in modern vehicles would one day be used by insurance companies to track motorists’ speed, vehicle usage and location.

Usage-based insurance

It’s called usage-based insurance (UBI).

On the positive side, insurance companies would offer lower premiums to those motorists who provide access to their vehicle data.

The down side is that if the data shows you are using your bike more than you agreed in the contract or are deemed a high-risk rider, your premium could also be increased.

It may even lead to insurance contracts being cancelled or payouts denied.

Dangerous data

privacy big brother data
Check what data is being stored on your computer

Data from GPS units, mobile phones and some modern bikes with data loggers could already be used by insurance companies.

But there are also now aftermarket plug-in devices that owners can retrofit, either in agreement with the insurance company or at their insistence.

One case where they could insist on the devices is if the rider has made a number of claims, proving a history of risky riding behaviour.

UBI products

Automotive technology company ERM Advanced Telematics has developed three aftermarket products specifically for insurance companies to track vehicles.

StartLink OnBat, UBI-Tag and UBI-Plug will be available later this year. We imagine the insurance companies will be looking very closely at these.

StarLink OnBat is a miniature monitoring and tracking device that connects via two wires to the vehicle battery and has an internal backup battery, GPS and a cellular modem in a small, waterproof (IP 67) encasement.

Size and waterproofing make it ideal for fitting to motorcycles.

It sends data regarding motorist behaviour and location to the service provider’s servers or to the insurance company based on a pre-determined frequency.

UBI-Tag is a sensor and Bluetooth interface with a single-use battery that lasts three years. It sends data via a dedicated app on the motorist’s smartphone directly to the server of the service provider or the insurance company. Again, this would suit a motorcycle.

UBI-Plug is a version of the UBI-Tag that is only for use in cars as it plugs into the lighter socket, if it still has one!

There is no word yet on the price of these units.

2 Comments

  1. I wonder who decides what low risk is? Currently, its those with low/no claims. In a recent roadside discussion with the NSW armed constabulary I learned no crashes (and no claims) for 25yrs was pure luck. If the insurance industry changes to that interpretation I’ll be in (more) trouble.
    Worse, what if the insurance companies are compelled to hand over their data?
    Oh yeah, this is the meat and potatoes of the upcoming police state. Orwell may have been right, if a little premature.
    I’m not paranoid. Just informed. I might be happier if I was ignorant.

  2. Seems to me a way for insurance companies to only insure low risk riders, kind of like life insurance for the healthy.

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