Progressive Insurance Files Patent Suit Against Hartford and State Farm

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Progressive Insurance, has been offering some drivers the “Chance” to earn a discount on their car insurance providing you are willing to install a device in your car that tracks your every move.This gives Progressive the ability not just to know if your speeding; but everywhere you go, the route you travel, and at what time. Some people might see this as a way to save a few dollars on their auto insurance (Providing the data is to Progressive’s liking) other might see this as a company invading their privacy to an extent that would have left the Soviet KGB green with envy.

While Progressive’s “Pay As you Drive” program leaves many feeling like the character Jason Bourne,under constant observation, clearly there are enough people willing to give up their freedom to motivate Hartford, Allstate and State Farm to create their own spy networks.This has caused Progressive to file separate patent-infringement lawsuits against Hartford Financial Services and State Farm for following their lead in basing rates on information they obtained by Car insurance companies installing tracking equipment in customer’s car.

Progressive states in court filings in U.S. District Court in Ohio, “That these competing auto insurers also have created products that obtain data on driving characteristics in order to compile a rating.”.

Progressive contends while Hartford calls its program “TrueLane.” and State Farm calls its usage-based program “Drive Safe & Save.” that they are too much Like Progressive’s patent-protected program “Pay As you Drive”.

Lawyers for Progressive state that the other companies making use of “on-board-telematics devices to gather information including mileage, speed, acceleration, time-of-day, trip duration as well as each and every turn. constitutes an alleged infringement of Progressive’s patent “will continue to cause damage and irreparable harm to Progressive until enjoined by the court,” says the Progressive, an Ohio-based insurer.

“The amount of the damage and harm has not yet been determined, but will be proven at trial,” Progressive says.

“Hartford denies Progressive’s allegations and intends to defend the lawsuit,” says an email from Hartford spokesman Thomas Hambrick. Dick Luedke, a State Farm spokesman, says the “They just learned of the complaint and will respond to the court”.

I am not a lawyer; so I will not weigh in on whether this raises to the level of Patent Infringement, but As I Questioned in an earlier post Is Your Car Spying on you, I question why, here in America, people would permit any company to follow their every move. And more than just to follow you, but to penalize you for any information they don’t like. But beyond that, there are bigger unanswered questions such as, if you were going through a divorce could a spouse subpina your driving records to see if you made any “Special Late-Night-Trips.” Can the Federal government optain what amounts to a detailed accounting of each and every location you visited, what time you arrived, the path you took, and the time you left.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly paranoid person, and I’m hardly a person “On-the-run,” or with great secrets to hide, yet I still feel uncomfortable with detailed tracking devices attached to my car.At Urban Insurance, we do not even ask you with your Social Security number. Clearly, any insurance company is going to require some information, but we make a strong effort to protect your privacy, and limit the scope of questions to the minimum. It is for this reason that we do not credit score car insurance,

Charging $600/ hour, lawyers will bill their clients hundreds of hours each, as they work through this case; the outcome of which I can only guess. I do expect that many customers will balk at the idea of “Big-Brother” track their every move.

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