BLACK BOX A REALITY BIG BROTHER IS HERE! - Progressive to Use Data-Logging DeviceROSEVILLE, Minn.--Aug. 9, 2004--Drive less, pay less--that's the simple concept behind TripSense(SM), a first of its kind usage-based auto insurance discount pilot program to be offered to 5,000 drivers in Minnesota beginning August 16 by the Progressive group of insurance companies, the third largest provider of auto insurance in the U.S. Program participants are eligible to receive a discount of up to 25 percent depending on how much, how fast and when they drive. Drivers interested in the program can contact the company at tripsense.progressive.com.
Introduction of this program to Minnesota drivers marks the second time a "first" has been brought here by Progressive. In 1997, Minnesota became the first state in which a driver could buy an auto insurance policy real-time, online at progressive.com.
Customers who register a vehicle in the TripSense pilot program plug a data-logging device into a port in their car. The device, called TripSensor(TM), collects information about the vehicle's use, including how much, how fast and when they drive. Participants in the TripSense program will receive a five percent discount on the six-month premium for each registered vehicle. In subsequent policy periods, TripSense customers earn a five percent discount if they choose to upload their driving data to Progressive. Customers can also receive up to 20 percent more in discounts based on how much, how fast and when they drive. Sharing driving data with Progressive is always optional, but necessary to earn a discount in future policy terms.
"Progressive is committed to finding innovative ways to lower car insurance rates," said Jim Haas, Minnesota auto insurance product manager, Progressive. "This new program will give Minnesota drivers choice and control over the cost of their auto insurance."
Progressive tested this usage-based insurance discount program in Minnesota in early 2004 when it offered 250 drivers $25 to plug a data logging device into their vehicles to collect information for 30 days, upload their data to Progressive and complete a survey about the experience. In the test, a discount on future policy periods was not offered, but had it been, the average member of the test group would have been eligible for a 7.5 percent discount on the registered vehicle in the next policy period.
Here's how the TripSense discount works:
Drivers who choose to join the pilot program will receive a TripSensor, a free, matchbox-sized device that plugs into a vehicle's On-Board Diagnostic (OBDII) port. The OBDII port can be found near the steering column in virtually all 1996 or later model year vehicles.
Once installed, TripSensor records how much, how fast and when the vehicle is driven. This information is used to calculate the discount the customer may receive when they renew their policy. TripSensor also collects information about rapid acceleration and braking that is not currently used to calculate the discount. Progressive is collecting this information to better understand if it is predictive of future accidents.
Toward the end of each policy period, customers use software provided by Progressive to download their driving data to a personal computer where they can view it to better understand the discounts they have earned and to upload the data to the company. During the pilot, all new customers get a five percent discount on the current policy. In subsequent policy periods, they receive a five percent discount when they share their driving information with Progressive. Participants may also be eligible for a "usage discount" of up to 15 percent based on how much and when the vehicle was driven. And, an additional five percent can be added to or subtracted from the usage discount depending upon what percent of time the vehicle was driven slower than 75 mph.
Drivers interested in joining Progressive's usage-based insurance discount pilot program should go to tripsense.progressive.com. The program is limited to 5,000 drivers. While the company sells auto insurance in Minnesota through nearly 1,000 independent insurance agencies, the usage-based discount program is currently only available on policies that are purchased online.
"This discount program can help drivers save money and help them to better understand how car insurance works," said Haas. "Pricing car insurance accurately depends upon understanding risk. Drivers who reduce their risk of being involved in an accident by driving less, driving during lower risk hours or driving slower will be rewarded in this discount program."
The pilot of this usage-based discount program is the latest in a long line of firsts for Progressive. The company was the first to test a usage-based insurance program that retrofitted Global Positioning System (GPS) and cellular technology into customers' vehicles to calculate premium based in part on how much, when and where the vehicle was driven. This test, conducted in Texas, started in 1998 and concluded in 2001. While the Texas test proved customers liked usage-based insurance because it saved them money and gave them more control over the cost of their auto insurance, it was discontinued due to high costs and complex installation logistics.
Other Progressive firsts include the industry's first drive-in claims office (1937), first company to offer comparison rates of other leading insurance companies (1994), first major auto insurance company with a Web site (1995) and first to open claims service centers providing a "concierge-level" of service in which the entire claims/repair process is handled on behalf of customers (2003).
The Progressive group of insurance companies, in business since 1937, provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7, in-person and online service and offers insurance by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE, online at progressive.com and through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies in the U.S. The Common Shares of the Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR. More information can be found at progressive.com.