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Why your car insurance company wants to track your heart rate

Florida To Block Allstate From Selling Auto Insurance Within The StateFlorida To Block Allstate From Selling Auto Insurance Within The State

Your car insurance company already knows plenty about you, from your age, to your accident history, to the number of miles per day you drive.

But if Allstate (ALL) has its way, the car insurer will know, much, much more, and potentially sell that information to third parties such as lenders, health insurers, marketers, and employers, to name a few.

According to a report in The Chicago Tribune, the firm was recently issued a patent for a “driving-behavior database” that would collect information from so-called “connected cars.”

Newer cars are now equipped with computers that can track all sorts of driving behavior, and insurance companies are capitalizing on the trend. According to The Tribune:

In recent years, Allstate and other car insurers have introduced voluntary programs in which policyholders can have their driving monitored, typically through a device or a mobile app, in exchange for potential discounts. Instances of hard braking or of driving at night, for example, might lessen one’s chance of a discount. Initially, the insurers assured customers that the programs didn’t track location, which was of particular concern for privacy advocates and consumers.

The tenor has changed, however. Starting last year, some insurers’ “usage-based” or “telematics” programs — including those of Allstate and Progressive — evolved to begin gathering once-taboo locations.

The program is just in the patent stage for now, and the company told The Tribune: “This is simply a continuation of a patent we’ve held for some time … Allstate is very proactive about managing its intellectual property rights to fully leverage innovation on behalf of our customers and ensure the best customer experience possible.”

Any customer participation in such a program in the future would be strictly voluntary.