Auto Insurance Premiums Based on Facebook Posts? No, Says Facebook

Facebook put the kibosh on a planned application from U.K. insurance firm Admiral that would have determined auto insurance premiums based on information gathered from customers’ posts on the social network.

Facebook put the kibosh on a planned application from U.K. insurance firm Admiral that would have determined auto insurance premiums based on information gathered from customers’ posts on the social network.

The insurance company billed its firstcarquote service as “insurance for the digital generation,” saying on its website:

firstcarquote is a new insurance service created by Admiral to help people who are buying or driving their first car. As well as helping new drivers get cheaper car insurance, firstcarquote can help drivers who haven’t bought a car yet figure out which make and model will be cheapest for them to insure.

New drivers are often quoted much higher insurance premiums as they have little driving history, zero no claims bonus and are viewed as “high-risk.” But we want to help make sure safe drivers aren’t penalized and get the best price possible.

Admiral’s plan for firstcarquote had been to prompt users to grant it access to their data on the social network via Facebook Login, and then use an algorithm to determine their safe driving potential and base their premiums on that information, but that plan has apparently been scrapped.

In the frequently asked questions section of the firstcarquote, a revised description now appears:

I heard that your algorithm would scan my posts and page likes to assess whether I’ll be a safe driver, and give me a larger discount based on that analysis. A previous version of firstcarquote allowed you to share additional data with us. However, the current version of the product does not have this feature. We do not have access to customers’ Facebook data, and never had access to anything that customers didn’t voluntarily share with us.

A Facebook spokesperson issued the following statement, as reported by TechCrunch:

We have clear guidelines that prevent information being obtained from Facebook from being used to make decisions about eligibility.

We have made sure anyone using this app is protected by our guidelines and that no Facebook user data is used to assess their eligibility. Facebook accounts will only be used for login and verification purposes.

Our understanding is that Admiral will then ask users who sign up to answer questions that will be used to assess their eligibility.

Readers: Did Facebook do the right thing with regard to firstcarquote?