April 08, 2013

San Francisco-based Esurance is offering in-car cellular blocking technology to policyholders interested in preventing their teen drivers from distracted driving.

The Cellcontrol device plugs into the on-board diagnostic port and pairs via Bluetooth with an app installed on a mobile device. When the car is in motion, the device transmits that information to the app, which then disables certain mobile device activity until the car is completely stopped.

[Inside PURE Insurance's Cellcontrol partnership]

Users can customize it to block whatever they would like, with texts, email, phone calls and apps switched off by default and hands-free calls enabled. Users can also enable certain apps, like music and navigation, if required, and whitelist certain numbers that won't be blocked from incoming or outgoing calls (as well as emergency numbers like 911).

The app is currently compatible with Windows Mobile, Android and Blackberry devices. iPhone compatibility is coming soon, Esurance says.

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, ...