NU Online News Service, May 2, 11:25 p.m. EDT
Progressive Corp. has filed separate patent-infringement lawsuits against Hartford Financial Services and State Farm over usage-based-auto insurance.
Like Progressive’s “Pay As you Drive” program, the competing auto insurers also have products that obtain data on driving characteristics in order to compile a rating, the insurer says in court filings in U.S. District Court in Ohio.
Hartford has a program it calls “TrueLane.” State Farm calls its usage-based program “Drive Safe & Save.”
Like Progressive’s patent-protected program, the other insurers’ onboard-telematics devices gather information such as mileage, speed, acceleration, time-of-day, trip duration and turns. The insurers’ alleged infringement of Progressive’s patent “will continue to cause damage and irreparable harm to Progressive until enjoined by the court,” says the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based insurer.
“The amount of the damage and harm has not yet been determined, but will be proven at trial,” Progressive says.
Progressive says it gave notice of the patent infringements to Hartford and State Farm, making the companies’ alleged continued infringement “willful.”
“The Hartford denies Progressive’s allegations and intends to defend the lawsuit,” says an email from Hartford spokesman Thomas Hambrick.
Hartford’s program allows auto policyholders the opportunity to reduce premiums by demonstrating safe driving habits by installing a telematics device. TrueLane is currently operational in Hartford’s home state of Connecticut as well as Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, and West Virginia.
State Farm spokesman Dick Luedke says the country’s largest home and auto insurer out of Bloomington, Ill. just learned of the complaint and will respond to the court.
State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save program was also developed to give drivers the opportunity for discounts based on safe driving habits, he says.
Progressive has also sued Allstate and Liberty Mutual for patent infringement. The company’s suit with Liberty Mutual is ongoing.
However, Allstate and Progressive settled their suit, with Allstate agreeing to buy certain patent portfolios from Progressive.