Admiral to set insurance prices based on clients' Facebook data

Admiral says there is a'proven link between personality and how people drive

That's the offer on the table for first-time drivers who can now receive reduced insurance quotes by allowing their Facebook profiles to be scoured in a bid to determine whether they are likely to be a safe driver.

According to the Admiral website, the program was meant to be up and running today, but the firstcarquote site says that there is a delay, which some have attributed to Facebook blocking the app, either due to customer privacy concerns or because they are reviewing to determine whether the app violates the Platform Policy on data usage.

The Guardian reports that Admiral's "firstcarquote" initiative was created to reward drivers who appear to be conscientious and well-organised, at least according to their social media presence. "We are doing our best to build a product that allows young people to identify themselves as safe drivers".

Insurance companies are increasingly looking to access big data from social media and personal technology to analyse customers or employers.

In fact putting my Facebook data into Cambridge University's Apply Magic Sauce service that analyses personality based on what you do on Facebook, I'm found to be less conscientious and more impulsive and spontaneous than most of the population.

It is being reported they will look for people writing in short sentences, using lists, and arranging to meet friends at a set time and place, rather than just "tonight".

The insurance provider quoted HSE research (.PDF) and stated that "some personalities are more likely to have an accident than others", but as standard insurance does not measure personality, quotes may not be as fair as they could be.

Although it is now only offering discounts, Admiral hasn't ruled out expanding the scheme.

He said: "It's incredibly transparent". If you don't want to use it in a quote, then you don't have to. "We hope that very soon we will be able to offer first-time drivers better deals on their auto insurance".

"This is innovative, it is the first time anyone has done this", said Mines. "It is a test, this is early days". We will work through that and learn more. We don't know if people are prepared to share their data. "If we find people aren't sharing their data, then we won't ever get to consider that [expanding Firstquote]".

But the company will be limited to information gathered during the initial quote process and can not continue to access social media data once a transaction is complete.

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