January 10, 2012

Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate has partnered with Seattle-based Airbiquity, a provider of connected vehicle services, to develop through the insurer's Roadside Assistance program offerings that leverage driving data.

“The services needed by drivers are expanding rapidly, powered by smartphones, location services, and clouds," Allstate Roadside Services president Anthony Royer says in a statement. "Expanding our relationship with Airbiquity shows that Allstate is preparing for all service requirements from our automotive customers.”

Allstate and Airbiquity will present service options to automotive manufacturers, such as remote door unlock, "find my car," and breakdown assistance, with the goal of making them available by the end of the year.

“Our collaboration with Allstate represents an essential maturation of the supplier ecosystem for automotive manufacturers," Airbiquity president and CEO Kamyar Moinzadeh adds in the statement. "With pre-connected platforms and integrated processes, joining forces enables us to bring service assurance to a rapidly evolving connected vehicle market.”

The Allstate/Airbiquity partnership follows State Farm's collaboration last year with Hughes Telematics on In-Drive. That partnership led to the development of a device policyholders can install in their vehicles to access safety and diagnostics options, including one-touch emergency response, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location, vehicle diagnostic alerts and maintenance reminders, location services and speed alerts.

The In-Drive device also allows those policyholders who use it to take part in State Farm's Drive Safe & Save usage-based insurance program, by making available to the insurer driving performance data such as mileage, turns, acceleration, braking, speed and time of day vehicle is operated. Allstate did not mention its usage-based insurance program, Drive Wise, in the Airbiquity announcement, but did say that the partnership would yield "innovative connected services in safety, roadside assistance, insurance and advanced infotainment." An Insurance & Technology inquiry into the potential expansion of Drive Wise through the Airbiquity partnership was not answered by publication time.

[Read more about the genesis of Drive Wise from Allstate's director of product innovation, Dan Kraft.]

Tom Kavanaugh, director for PricewaterhouseCooper's Diamond Advisory Services, says that these types of partnerships are going to be increasingly popular among insurers who are looking to add more personalized, driver-level programs.

"While those programs use a component of driving data, it really is about creating a product bundle that's not all about pricing," Kavanaugh says. "It's about creating a differentiated customer experience and product offering."

A side benefit of those programs is the opportunity to enhance usage-based insurance programs, Kavanaugh adds. But, he continues, that's only one piece of the puzzle. While partnerships with connected-car-technology providers are possible for larger insurers, regional insurers are going to want to get into the driving data game as well. Their partnerships, Kavanaugh posits, are more likely to be with data aggregators who will compile the driver-level data to aid those smaller players' usage-based insurance underwriting programs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, ...