UK Insurance Company Says It Will Change Rates Depending On Facebook Activity

Uninsured cars seized by the Merseyside Police on display outside the police headquarters in May 2006 1 photo
Photo: Wikipedia user Nick-D
Insurance is expensive for most drivers, and the youngest of us often have the biggest quotes. Statistics are to blame, and this happens across the world because young people tend to be less careful than elder drivers anywhere you look.

An insurance company in Great Britain has proposed a change that may bring them a ton of customers, but it might also cause havoc if their calculations are not correct.

They are called Admiral Insurance, and The Guardian describes them as one of the biggest insurance companies in Britain. Since we are referring to a big company, this is not a new player that is attempting to gain free advertising through media appearances with wild claims.

Big enterprises have tried things like these in the past, but people expect them to put their money where their mouth is when claims are made, so that will not fly for a big enterprise.

In the case of Admiral Insurance, they have announced a new type of insurance policy, which is designed for first-time car owners and new drivers.

The initiative was supposed to be launched this week, but was delayed at the last moment. We are writing about a scheme named “first car quote,” which was meant to bring deductions instead of price increases for people who were interested in accepting an analysis of their Facebook profile.

The cunning plan made by the company would have given them the chance to test its data analysis solutions and their prediction software. It is worth noting that the scheme would have only involved reading posts and likes made by Facebook users, while photos would not have been included.

The users that would have received a discount were those who are considered more organized, as well as conscientious. Other personality traits linked to safe driving would have been searched through profiles to determine if the person is a responsible human or a careless individual. The maximum discount could have reached 350 pounds a year, which is something that nobody would throw away.

From our point of view, this move would have allowed the insurance company make a “trial run” of its systems see if they could be applied to the rest of its customer base.

Several elements should be covered on top of Facebook accounts if you ask us - Snapchat and Twitter activity. If all of those result in a decent person, why would you not offer a discount?

On the other hand, the companies risk giving discounts to people who have “polished” accounts, where they only post responsible things to maintain a particular public image.

UPDATE November 2, 2016: We have been contacted by a Facebook spokesperson after this article was published, and they had a few things to add to the story.

One of the representatives of the American social network asked us to explain that no app is permitted to access Facebook user data to assess eligibility. The company has strict guidelines for apps, and these prevent other people from obtaining information from someone else’s Facebook data.

In the case of the Admiral Insurance app, it came to their understanding that the Facebook accounts will only be used for login and verification purposes. From there, users that sign up for the Admiral platform would be asked to answer questions.

Furthermore, the Facebook representative underlined the fact that all apps are subject to a final review before "going live," and that the Platform Policy used on the social network has strict rules and guidelines on how to use the information shared by people with developers.

Among those guidelines is a precept that prohibits the use of data gathered from Facebook when considering someone’s approval/rejection for an application, as well as the interest charged for a loan, just to name a few examples.

We must also note that Facebook puts great focus on self-regulation, so users are urged to report any breaches they spot or feel on the platform regarding apps and pages.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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