Progressive Takes Snapshot of Your Driving Habits



Progressive’s perky Flo — the insurance brand’s marketing mascot known for her bullet-proof hair — is pitching Snapshot in a new campaign that breaks today (watch above).

Bearing an unusual proposition — lower your auto insurance rates up to 30% based on your driving skills — Snapshot is the company’s proprietary in-car monitor. It’s also a technical innovation the company calls a major insurance industry game-changer.[more]

“Do you think you’re a better driver than your car insurance company gives you credit for? Today I’m issuing a challenge to drivers across the country. Get a quote from Progressive and send us a ‘snapshot’ of your driving habits, and see what happens,” said Progressive President and CEO Glenn Renwick in a statement.

“Snapshot is about much more than just really cool and fun-to-use technology — it’s a whole new way to think about car insurance. We believe Snapshot is a game-changer, representing the future of auto insurance as our mobile and interconnected world gives us the opportunity to offer immediate and substantial savings to our customers.” 

It’s actually been available for a while (known as the brand’s “pay as you drive” program) but just getting a national rollout and marketing push now.

How it works: The Snapshot device plugs into the onboard diagnostic port (OBD-II) found in most cars built after 1996 and tracks how and when you are driving. The latest telematics and mobile technology aggregate and render real-time data analysis about your driving — how many miles, how many sudden stops — and drivers who are less aggressive and travel fewer miles can get 30% discounts in 30 days. 

Snapshot is next generation usage-based insurance, offering personalized rates based on actual driving habits. Drivers have almost instant access to Snapshot results on a website, and after six months, those with a good record can turn in the device to claim their insurance discounts.

Not happy with this game-changer, however, some privacy advocates warn it’s a “slippery slope” even though Snapshot doesn’t use GPS nor track speed.

You “start out with something that may appear to be benign, but when you have the capability to do even more comprehensive tracking, there is a tendency to do that type of tracking over time,” Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego commented to Ad Age.

The inference is that data from Snapshot could be used in car accident investigations.

“This will signal a game changer for this industry in an industry … that has not been seen as a game-changing industry. We’ve been in business for close to 75 years and for the industry this is our iPod, this is our big launch,” added Progressive CMO Jeff Charney. 

Would this appeal to you, or would privacy concerns override any cost-savings?