Do insurance companies use Facebook?
Published 17 December 2016 by Kyri Levendi
Would you be comfortable for your insurer to look over your social media profile?
Your Facebook profile can reveal a lot about you. Depending on what you make public, a quick glance could uncover your date of birth, where you live and work, and who your closest family and friends are.
It can also reveal certain things about your personality. For example, a picture of you bungee-jumping could give the impression that you're a bit of a daredevil. But how would you feel if an insurance company used your Facebook profile to determine a quote for you?
Admiral Insurance plans to offer discounted quotes to first-time drivers based on their social media profile as part of its 'First Car Quote' app. Here we take you through how this will work and what it could mean for you.
Facebook steps in
The 'First Car Quote' app was supposed to give drivers the opportunity to get a lower car insurance quote based on their Facebook posts and likes.
The app was only to be used to offer discounts to those it viewed as being low-risk drivers. It would not be able to increase car insurance premiums for "higher-risk" customers. The app would analyse details of Facebook posts such as the wording used in posts or how often users meet with friends.
Overconfident posts such as the use of exclamation marks and definitive words like "always or never" could mean you come across as more of a risk. The same goes for if you post that you’re going to meet friends late at night.
But Facebook halted the scheme – due to launch on 2nd November – after it decided that using information from social media to provide insurance discounts breached its data rules. These include stopping companies from "making decisions about eligibility, including whether to approve or reject an application or how much interest to charge on a loan".
Admiral isn’t scrapping the app altogether though. Instead, the insurer is preparing to launch a more basic version. This will see new drivers get discounts for verifying their identity through Facebook.
The insurance company won’t look at customers' social media profiles or posts as part of this process. Instead, all customers that log in to the Admiral app via Facebook will receive a standard discount. They will then need to provide the usual information required to get a car insurance quote such as the car's registration number and its value.
Admiral hasn’t confirmed a new launch date for the First Car Quote scheme.
What about the future?
Admiral isn’t the only insurer looking to develop schemes to offer discounts to customers based on social media use. And it's no wonder either when Facebook has 1.79 billion users globally.
But don't worry, your insurer shouldn't be able to use the information you put on Facebook to hike up your quotes anytime soon. Besides, the only way an insurer can look at your personal data is if you give it consent to do so.
With that said, you should always be aware of the information you give out on social media. Want to know more? Find out how taking a selfie could impact your travel insurance.