Allstate Insurance has built what it thinks is great technology for determining the likelihood of individual drivers getting into car accidents and, more importantly, requiring big checks to cover the damage. Now it wants to make that software available to other businesses.
The insurance carrier announced on Thursday that it’s spinning out Arity, a unit born from an internal effort to collect driver data and develop tools for assessing driver risk. Arity will sell its software tools to other companies, including insurance providers, car manufacturers, and transportation companies.
“When I really think of the core value, it’s really the data science,” Arity president Gary Hallgren told Fortune. “We’ve been able to take a large quantity of data and turn it into something predictable.”
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Arity provides its technology through a software development kit (SDK), a device that can be plugged into a car’s on-board diagnostics port to track how the car is performing on the road and whether there are any mechanical problems, or by working directly with a car manufacturer. Its products let customers tap into the risk scoring and analytics it has built using data from more than one million drivers. The main idea is to provide more accurate predictions about drivers so that insurance companies, for example, can better price their driver policies.
“All insurance companies want to price their policies more accurately,” said Hallgren.
Arity already has three insurance companies as customers that have been using its tools and data: Allstate
, Esurance, and Answer Financial. Arity hopes to add more customers next year.
Though Hallgren declined to share details about ongoing discussions, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft show interest in the technology. Getting better data about drivers’ behavior on the road is something Uber has already begun experimenting with, and it could also become part of the companies’ screening process when hiring new drivers, Hallgren suggested. Car manufacturers can use Arity’s technology to better track how their vehicles are performing on the road and whether there are any defects, he added.
Allstate is far from the only company to look to driving behavior and data from the car itself as a way to tailor insurance. San Francisco startup Metromile, for example, provides its customers with a pay-per-mile insurance service that includes installing an on-board device so it can track when the car is being used. The idea, of course, is that customers shouldn’t pay for insurance when the car is sitting in the garage. Last year, Metromile partnered with Uber to provide an insurance policy to its drivers in a few states that lets them shift between personal and work-related use.
But Hallgren is confident that Arity’s analytics are better than other companies, and he says it’s because the company has been working on the technology for several years and has collected enormous amounts of data. It has information about more than one million drivers over 20 billion miles that it collected through Allstate’s Driverwise mobile app, which Allstate customers can use to get rewards on their insurance policy by demonstrating safe driving behavior.
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With big changes in transportation, including car sharing, ride-hailing and the coming of self-driving cars, it’s no surprise that the insurance industry is rethinking its services. For example, a few insurance companies have recently warmed up to the idea of creating specialized policies for ride-hailing drivers using their regular cars for work, after shunning those drivers for years.