Progressive Insurance received its fourth patent for systems technologies employed in its usage-based insurance program, Snapshot.
The optional program, available in 39 states and the District of Columbia, provides a customized discount based on customers' driving habits. Drivers who sign up for Snapshot receive a small telematics device that plugs into the vehicle's on-board diagnostic port. The device records data from the vehicle, including mileage, when the car is driven and the number of "hard breaks" drivers make, and sends the information to Progressive, which uses it to calculate discounts. People who drive fewer miles, drive safely and make trips during safer hours of the day save money on their car insurance rates. Progressive says almost 500,000 drivers have participated in the program.
"For more than 15 years we have invested a great deal into the research, development, testing and piloting of usage-based insurance programs and will continue to do so," Glenn Renwick, Progressive's president and CEO, said in a press release. "It's gratifying to know that the U.S. Patent Office recognizes the uniqueness of our system technologies."
In addition to its patents for usage-based insurance, Progressive also holds a patent for its methods of processing vehicle damage claims and two patents for computer technology related to its online policy servicing capabilities.
Other car insurance companies have also rolled out usage-based insurance programs, including State Farm, Allstate, GMAC, American Family Insurance and the Automobile Club of Southern California.