IBM Patents Real-Time Auto Insurance Surcharges

from the fair's-fair dept

theodp writes "Better think twice before volunteering to tutor underprivileged kids or delivering Christmas gifts to homeless children. Thanks to IBM, you could be rewarded with a hefty car insurance premium increase for your efforts. A new patent was issued to Big Blue last Tuesday for its 'invention' of the Location-Based Vehicle Risk Assessment System, which describes how surcharges will be added to your auto insurance premium when a GPS device reports that you drove into an area in IBM's bad neighborhood database (stay too long and your car is disabled). It's all about assigning insurance costs more appropriately, explains Big Blue, which used the same argument to justify punishing employees for having fat kids."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    As Usual, Mar 26th, 2008 @ 9:53pm

    Not that I'm okay with this technology, but are discounts to be issued in the same manner? I thought not... :-/

     

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  2.  
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    inc, Mar 26th, 2008 @ 10:51pm

    Like I'm gonna let the insurance company track where the fuck I am.

     

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  3.  
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    Avatar28, Mar 26th, 2008 @ 11:30pm

    And, better, they disable your vehicle in the bad neighborhood too long. I could just see the shit storm when someone is visiting their elderly granny or something that and their car gets disabled while they're driving around and they end up getting mugged and/or killed because they were left vehicleless in the middle of said bad neighborhood.

     

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  4.  
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    Amanya Wannahearfrom, Mar 26th, 2008 @ 11:39pm

    Please mistuh, will you please take my freedom, fi

    This makes me nauseous. Think of all the ways to scam a person (customer). Got a problem with the bill? Prove where you were.

    This is another large significant step to a felon-state; that is, instead of citizens at the top of the USA government (God Bless America!) we are now just profit targets, by big businesses with nice sounding euphemisms and strings to pull directly inside government.

    Yah. I am a loser, I want to save money on car insurance, so you can start playing games with me a year later.

    How I know?

    I only report my personal experience with:

    Liability insurance
    Car Rental insurance
    Homeowners insurance (doubled after 9-11- I am in the very last place terrorism would happen- outback oregon- but that was the excuse they used.

    Yes, Usama predicts correct: We will destroy ourselves, and 9-11 just sped things up a bit.

    Thank you Techdirt.

    Mike

     

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  5.  
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    Jake, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 12:59am

    Note to self: Do not under any circumstances do business with any company that makes this mandatory.

     

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  6.  
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    Yikes, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 2:14am

    Next Step......

    Health insurance companies tracking your purchases and giving you a surcharge for that 12-pack of beer.

     

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  7.  
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    Paranoid Phreak, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 2:30am

    I think Story is part Correct

    I do not see it as they would disable the car, as much as take it away or tow it???? If your car was in a bad location for too long then.. What makes it a bad location??? Would it be wise to disable it only?? No, maybe if they were going to repo it (like if the bank owned it and wanted it back).
    ** I would only be for this technology if we used it for state, city and federal owned vehicles. I like that idea- to make sure our elected, and paid for workers don't use our Tax dollars for private use. I can find loads of fun things to do with state/fed workers and gps- and insurance.
    ** Maybe cab companies can save money and they already use GPS...
    ** For home, private, aweee im all against that one. Its a technology that is based on mistrust and control- Only good use is for our elected- not the average joe..
    ** Come on tech people stop doing these tracking and data base -strange 1984 - im in control stuff.. - go back to inventing fun games like pong and pacman. If you hate games make a better microwave.
    Peace Out

     

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  8.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 27th, 2008 @ 5:16am

    My Sentiments

    My thoughts most directly align with post #2 by inc.

     

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  9.  
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    NullOp, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 5:42am

    IBM Trix

    Like this is a big surprise! The free world will collapse because of insurance companies and 'safety issues.'

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 6:41am

    A while back, I lived in Astoria, Queens for about 6 months. I called a local insurance company about rates and they quoted me $5,000. I told them for that much after three years I could buy a new car for that amount. They told me my car would be stolen before that.

    If you want to make it truly fair, people with higher risks would pay more for insurance. That doesn't happen so much becasue the states don't let it happen. You talk of personal responsibility and this is one thing that directly targets personal responsibility. If your car is in a high risk area often, why wouldn't you expect to pay more?

     

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  11.  
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    George Gross, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 6:53am

    insurance tracking

    I think anyone who reads this article can appreciate just how abusive this could become, but consider it from another angle. Ther are many good people that due to financial circumstances live in a "bad area". What are these people to do? Not own a car? I do, however, like the idea of tracking government vehicles to the (spa/golf course/houses of ill-repute/fill-in-the-blank) and checking how long they remain there.
    In a society ruled by the people, for the people, this could not happen. We, however, are ruled by politicians. They come around just before election time to tell you that they have been pulling for you the last 2,4 or 6 years and that if re-elected they have plans how they are going to fix the problems of the last 2,4 or 6 years.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Hmmmmm, what shall I do.
    Think I'll remove the GPS unit and leave it in the garage.
    Can I patent that idea ?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 8:19am

    George, is it fair that I pay higher insurance rates in my safe town because the insurance companies can't charge inner city residents (in high risk areas)more?

    Is it fair for Iowa residents to pay higher insurance rates because Florida residents get wacked by a hurricane?

    Where does personal responsibility come into play?

     

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  14.  
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    Merc, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 8:26am

    From the patent docs..
    "While such historical data is helpful in setting reasonable premiums, such data doesn't always accurately predict the activities of individual policy holders, and thus the risks posed by each of those policy holders. Insurance companies typically have little control over or feedback from how and where a policy holder operates a vehicle. (Italics mine..) While a policy holder may live in a relatively safe area, the policy holder may travel into riskier areas without the knowledge of the insurance company. A policy holder may also travel frequently in high accident areas, and thus pose a greater risk of encountering an accident, yet an insurance company often has no way of identifying or accounting for the additional risk posed by that policy holder."


    Wow... I'm feel like I'm getting smothered by it all.. seems that corp mungheads in every sector are really putting in the overtime to better serve me.. Ha!!

     

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  15.  
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    TZ, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 8:27am

    Did anyone actually READ the patent?

    Um... before throwing big blue under the bus here, did any of y'all with Fox News attention spans actually read the patent? All 4 claims speak to use for rental vehicles only. Given there are roads and areas even in popular tourist destinations like Maui where rental cars aren't supposed to be, one can envision a use for this that isn't nearly as dire as everyone seems to be painting here. I agree that any attempt for insurers of privately owned vehicles to use such a scheme would be met with Big Brother like rejection though.

     

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  16.  
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    Merc, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 8:43am

    Re: Did anyone actually READ the patent?

    Yes I did.. in one opening para.
    "A method of conducting an economic transaction associated with rental of a vehicle over a period of time,.."

    Yet in another..
    "The illustrated embodiments generally operate by tracking the location of a vehicle for the purpose of conducting an economic transaction associated with the usage of the vehicle over a period of time. The economic transaction may be based upon any number of different activities associated with usage of a vehicle, including rental of a vehicle, insurance of a vehicle, etc. A vehicle may include practically any mobile form of transport including, for example, automobiles, trucks, airplanes, boats, bicycles, trailers, motorcycles, motor homes, etc. Moreover, systems consistent with the invention may also have additional utility in parental monitoring of minor operators."

    ..and though I'm not in fear of suddenly being tracked.. do you honestly believe that this will remain exclusive to rentals if its actually deployed?

     

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  17.  
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    timstevens, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 9:32am

    Just like California - tax 'em on distance driven

    And just like California, I expect that if this became a standard of practice, the next thing will be data on millions of drivers somehow lost or stolen.

    Then the usual "...we have no evidence that any data has been used for illegal purposes..." a$$ covering rhetoric.

    And just wait until they combine databases: where you drove, with what you purchased, with your race, gender, income etc. Then they can tax/fee us extra if we drove our fat a$$es to McDonalds to get a quadruple dead cow burger rather than taking the bus to do the same and then pass all that information on to our health insurer.

    Per Inc's comment. Maybe I'll just bolt that pesky GPS transmitter to the side of my washing machine.

     

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  18.  
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    Compaholic, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 9:50am

    First credit company's, now Insruance company's.

    First it's been the credit company's getting away with murder(almost) with outragous fee's. Late fee's, handling fee's, processing fee's, processing fee's for the handling fee of the late fee. It's just a ridiculous cycle of exploitations of loopholes. Just like everything else, the government will have to step in to regulate and they will ruin it for everyone else.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Did anyone actually READ the patent?

    "Moreover, systems consistent with the invention may also have additional utility "

    cough cough .... invention ? - where ?

    Honestly, I do not see an invention

     

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  20.  
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    Rusty Shackleford, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 4:38pm

    Getting the foot in the door

    This will only pave the way to your car being tracked... all corporations have people in their employ who do nothing but try to figure out how to get in your pocket... even governments... and agreed... this is no invention... its existing technology being used against you... like rental companies thinking they can give you a speeding ticket based on GPS tracking...

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 6:14pm

    "ike rental companies thinking they can give you a speeding ticket based on GPS tracking..."

    The courts gave them the smack down on that one - Jurisdiction.

     

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  22.  
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    Jake, Mar 28th, 2008 @ 1:10pm

    Come to think of it, I wonder if this is related to the various rather flaky technological concepts for electronic road tolling; the British government looked into the idea a while ago, but apparently concluded that implementing it would be more trouble than it was worth, and in any case public opinion came down against road tolls altogether. Could this be IBM's attempt to make a flawed prototype do something useful?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2008 @ 4:43am

    Re:

    Note to self: Do not under any circumstances do business with any company that makes this mandatory.

    Oh, I'm sure it'll be optional. They'll just charge you ten times the normal premium if you "opt out". But hey, it'll be your choice.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2008 @ 4:51am

    Re:

    Is it fair for Iowa residents to pay higher insurance rates because Florida residents get wacked by a hurricane? Where does personal responsibility come into play?

    Yeah, it's sooo personally irresponsible to be stricken by a natural disaster, called an "act of G-d" by the insurance companies. I mean, people who are stricken by an "act of G-d" MUST have done SOMETHING to anger G-d (like all the immorality in New Orleans). Thus, it's their own fault. Why should the rest of us be punished with higher premiums?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2008 @ 4:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Did anyone actually READ the patent?

    Honestly, I do not see an invention.

    So? Since when does that matter?

     

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