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?


One response to “Insurance company wants our Big (personal) Data”

  1. 345167rv says :

    Hi 358535ss, when I saw this on the news yesterday I was also thinking about blogging about it, but as you already wrote about it I will just give a comment :)! I personally would not be willing to share data regarding to my driving behaviour. Not that I’m a bad driver, but you’ll never know what they will do with your data in the future. You get a discount if you share your driving behaviour, but what happens if you end up in an accident because you were driving to fast. Does Achmea raise your car mortgage? Or do they stop reimbursing because it was your own ‘fault’ because you chose to drive to fast? And how far do they go with the sampling of personal data. The driving data is a start, but if this goes further on for example to health insurance, what happens to people that smoke, are obese or have chronicle issues. Do these people have to pay more than a ‘healthy’ person or will they not be able to find insurance at all?
    Personally, I think that every person should get the same treatment and also that it is not right that Achmea tries to get personal data by giving a discount to people who provide it. The sensitivity of people with lower incomes will be higher than people with a higher income. Therefore, they could feel ‘obligated’ to provide the data, and as it is not clear what Achmea will do with the data, they can get ‘punished’ for it by raising mortgages after ‘bad’ behaviour.

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