Auto insurers who take advantage of the opportunities posed by the 'Internet of Things' will differentiate themselves in a commoditized market. (Shutterstock/My Life Graphic)

Driverless cars may well represent the future of the automobile industry, leaving the insurance industry to grapple with the implications. However, that future may be relatively far off–10, 15, or 20 years from now. The big question for insurers today is how to use the latest technologies available to enhance the customer experience. Auto insurers have a tremendous opportunity to add value for their customers, and to differentiate themselves from their competitors in the process.

One leading example is through telematics–typically devices supplied by insurance companies that snap into the car’s dashboard and provide the insurer with information about driver behavior, including miles driven, acceleration and braking patterns, and vehicle GPS data. This information helps the insurer more accurately price risk for individual customers, and can ultimately lower premiums for drivers who exhibit safe behavior. With the average U.S. Auto insurance premium hovering around $1,500 per year, lower premiums can be a significant incentive for consumers to participate in telematics programs. 

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