Insurance company wants our Big (personal) Data
Yesterday an article was published in a Dutch financial newspaper about Achmea, a big insurance company, willing to provide a discount to customers who share personal data. So interestingly, also insurance companies are trying to find new ways to employ big data. After a trip to Silicon Valley, Achmea gained the knowledge about a device that can be installed in your car and registers the driving behavior of the customer. In exchange for the information retrieved, the customer gets a discount on the insurance premium. Is this an acceptable exchange or not?
From the moment the device is installed in your car, it will register how fast you drive, break or accelerate and where and when you did it. The first purpose of the device in your car will be to help drivers avoid damage. The data will help the insurance company to inform their customers about where others have consistently caused damage. In the future, the TomTom for instance will be able to warn you in advance about a risky turn or garage that you are approaching. In addition, the information about your driving behavior can tell what risks the driver faces and hence the probability that the insurer has to compensate for any damage.
Achmea is very enthusiastic about this new idea, while critics are already expressing their worries about the privacy matters that come with it. First of all, it is not always clear what happens with the information that the companies will receive. Will the insurance company use the data against you in case you end up in a crash and they know everything about your driving behavior? Furthermore, some argue that this development will turn privacy from a right into a privilege. As long as you can afford to pay for your insurance without any discount, you do not have to share personal data. However, if the discount can be really convenient to you due to your financial situation, you have to give away a piece of your privacy.
Would you be willing to share data regarding your driving behavior? Is the benefit of a discount worth taking the risk of sharing personal data?