GM’s OnStar Ready to Offer Progressive’s Usage-Based Insurance

By | February 4, 2015

Progressive has partnered with OnStar Corp. to bring its usage-based insurance program, Snapshot, to OnStar customers.

Starting this summer, buyers of 2016 and most 2015 General Motors vehicles will have the option to have their driving data gathered by the OnStar system already built into their new car.

Customers who choose this program will be able to receive an e-mailed “safe driving assessment” after 90 days that shows how they compare to other drivers. They can then decide if they want to share the data with Progressive and receive a discounted quote on their car insurance. The option will also be available on some 2014 and 2013 vehicles.

There is no additional cost to OnStar customers if they decide to participate – the program is included with their OnStar service.

OnStar, a subsidiary of General Motors, is a subscription-based communications, security and navigation system. All new GM cars offer a trial subscription — more than 30 million vehicles, according to the car manufacturer.

Dave Pratt, Progressive general manager of Usage-Based Insurance in Mayfield, Ohio, said the main difference between this program and the company’s regular Snapshot program is that drivers don’t have to bother with a using a device in their car.

The OnStar approach also addresses concerns over privacy, he said.

“If they opt-in, OnStar sends the data to us and we apply that to a quote with a discount to the customer. We only see the data if the customer explicitly says they want to share it with Progressive,” he said.

He said Progressive developed this program in response to consumer feedback for an easier, less invasive usage-based insurance option.

“With the OnStar program you can learn about what your discount will be before you are a customer so you can get a quote and then decide before you buy a policy with us,” he said.

According to Pratt, the privacy concern is also why existing Progressive customers would not be able to use the program through OnStar, as the company’s systems are not set up to capture data for an existing policy. They can, however, have a Snapshot device sent to them if they would like to find out if they are eligible for a discount.

Progressive’s regular Snapshot program does offer non-Progressive customers a “test-drive” option. It will send the device to drivers to use for 30 days so they can find out what their discount would be. However, Pratt said the company has been disappointed in how few consumers have done this.

“We are hoping by making it easier for OnStar customers, they will take advantage of knowing what the car insurance price will be before they buy,” says Pratt.

The available discount will be the same for OnStar customers as for those enrolled in the regular Snapshot program. The maximum discount available in most states is 30 percent.

According to Prattt, the discount will also be measured the same. It is based on how much a person drives, at what time of day, and how often they hit the brakes hard. Two-thirds of those who try the program end up qualifying for a discount, according to the insurer.

OnStar will begin to offer the program to its customers in March or April. The data will be collected over the next three months in order to offer “scorecards” so Pratt expects Progressive will begin offering discounted quotes starting in the summer.

Pratt encourages agents to take advantage of Snapshot as he says it offers them a competitive edge over other insurance companies.

“We have this industry-leading product and a lot of our direct channel competitors are trying to copy it,” he says. “It is a way for agents to take business away from the Allstates and State Farms. Our agents who are using Snapshot are selling more business.”

Topics Auto

About Amy O'Connor

O'Connor is the Southeast editor for Insurance Journal and associate editor of More from Amy O'Connor

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