Share your results with your friends on social media, get a discount of up to 20% on your car insurance, it works on smart phones. Where this sort of description could be any of the myriad of games and adverts for apps these days, it is linked to Aviva car insurance, where if you log in and track your driving you could get a discount on your insurance.
Sounds perfect, who wouldn't want (up to) 20% off their annual insurance for downloading a free app and letting it score you out of 10 for your driving ability? There can surely be no downside to this at all can there?
Clearly there is, and the risks are probably more far reaching than people would guess from the friendly and fun adverts and campaign that is going along with this, that has actually been around a little while.
Obviously this is my opinion and assumptions, I don't work for Aviva or know anyone who does, but as the main aim of an insurance company is not to pay out on a claim, any supposed "gift" should be viewed with a level of cynicism.
Imagine you are an insurance company. Clearly the ideal situation is to only insure safe drivers so the risk of any payouts is low, that is the most profitable scenario. So if you could screen customers first that would be great. As that is not really practical, getting your existing customers to do something like using an app to track their driving makes sense, as it will show you what the risk is. The initial requirement is 200 miles of driving to get your score and discount, which all sounds good - drive well and carefully for 200 miles and all is good.
What if it then became a log of 200 miles a month, and then had to be on for at least 50% of miles driven, or indeed all miles driven in the car. This is all trackable via the mileage at MOT etc, so you can't actually not do it if required. Instead of having a fun app to get a discount, you are now providing the details of your entire life to an insurance company.
A few obvious ones, if you always drove to a caravan park for weekends they would be able to guess you have a caravan, often at the boating lake - you have a boat, leaving your car at a pub every Friday night after work - you would flag as a binge drinker. What do you think would happen to your application for some life insurance when applying for a mortgage in a few years - more than likely be a lot higher than you would have had if they didn't have the Friday night piss up information on you.
Starts to add up now doesn't it.
Imagine you are at the stage where to keep your discount at the lower level you need to have the app on for at least 50% of your annual mileage and you have a small accident. Nothing major, but is going to cost a few grand in total to sort all the damage out. Now imagine you were driving at 50 in a 40 zone. It was OK as it was at about 5 in the morning, and the road was empty until that deer ran out in front of you. No worries really - make the call, get the cheque, get the work done on the car, all as good as new.
Until the claims advisor rings you and says there is no payout - you were speeding because the app has recorded it, your own little "black box" just like a plane. Insurance not valid, have a nice day. Hmmm. Doesn't sound as good now does it?
Like I said, this is just my assumption of how this would pan out. The news is all about spies and Prism and Government data, and yet many people will willingly give all this data to an insurance company without a second thought. Much like the supermarket clubcards, they are not for you, they are for them to know every little thing about your life.
The first years insurance on a car is always a git to get, but once you have it, the power is yours as a consumer - and the best way to get a discount is to compare and change providers all the time to the best deal. Not to tell them you have a works piss up every Friday!