Progressive is working with application developers to find a way to use mobile phones to measure customers’ driving behaviors, the auto insurer said in an announcement yesterday.

The announcement was primarily focused on reporting a Progressive milestone—the collection of 10 billion miles of driving data with Snapshot, the device now used in it user-based insurance program.

Citing a Nielsen statistic indicating that 60 percent of mobile subscribers own smartphones, Dave Pratt, Progressive’s General Manager of usage-based insurance, said “this is a very entrepreneurial space right now and we’re seeing promising results” for app development.

Progressive has an open call for app developers and is working with app developers to test solutions, the announcement said, inviting companies that think they have a viable solution to contact Progressive’s Product Development Manager, Bill Everett (at

Logging the $10 billion-plus miles of driver data since introducing its first wireless device in January 2008—the equivalent to 50 round trips from the Earth to the sun according to Progressive’s analysis—Progressive also noted that 2 million vehicles have participated in the program over the years, and that Snapshot accounted for $2 billion in written premium in 2013.

Sharing further analysis of the insurer’s big data set from the Snapshot device, Progressive said it has 110 terabytes of data, which is over seven-times the amount of all the data stored in the Library of Congress.

More Research and Development

According to Progressive, the current Snapshot program uses three predictive factors to determine a driver’s discount—mileage, time of day and hard braking. Progressive looks to gain an even deeper understanding of predictive modeling by piloting GPS-enabled devices in the coming year. A sample of participants will take part in research to examine how factors like highway versus city street driving contribute to predicting future losses and potentially bigger discounts for customers, Progressive said.

Other opportunities to advance UBI may reside in the use of smart technology, like mobile and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) telematics.

“OEM’s in-car technologies have the capability to transmit driving data, so we’re exploring options like this that would ultimately replace the customer’s need to plug in a separate device,” Pratt said in the announcement, going on to note Progressive’s exploration of using smartphones to do the same measurements.

Source: Progressive