The CNIL’s position on Pay-As-You-Drive™
Monday, 01 October 2007

It’s a fact : automobile insurance companies are becoming more and more interested in computerized devices that track real vehicle usage so they can offer personalized insurance premiums. To comply with the law, the National Commission for Information Technology and Privacy Rights (CNIL) must approve each plan to ensure that the solutions insurance companies develop pose the least possible risk to individual privacy rights .

 

 In 2005, MAAF Insurance tried to introduce an auto insurance contract inspired by the principal of Pay-As-You-Drive. Dubbed « Capital Conduite » (Capital Driving), this contract offered young drivers a reduction on their premiums as long as they respected certain rules (don’t exceed a certain speed limit, don’t drive the day before weekends , take a break every 2 hours). An electronic device would be installed onboard the vehicle to check whether these rules were followed. However, this project was vetoed by the CNIL who found that the data MAAF wanted to collect was beyond what was necessary to achieve the intended result of reducing premiums. The CNIL also found that insurance companies are not allowed to keep a log of data that would permit them or the police to fine a driver.

Since then, the position of the CNIL seems to have changed, or perhaps the projects being presented have evolved. The CNIL is now inclined to accept the implementation of PAYD plans on the condition that insurers comply with certain rules. Nevertheless, the Commission remains hostile to absolute « tracability » of the insured driver; insurers may never gather data that allows them to know exactly where their client is, nor what driving infractions he commits because, in the eyes of the CNIL, that capacity would give police powers to insurance companies. On the other hand, the CNIL is in favor of collecting aggregate data that cannot be used for surveillance, such as the number of kilometers driven (per week or month) and the number of kilometers driven within a defined region or particular network of roads.

 

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