April 4, 2013
When it comes to driving, teenagers seem to be like a category five hurricane: destruction apparently follows them everywhere. Insurance agencies tend to gouge this demographic on premiums and monthly rates simply because of their age. But what if you do not fit this mold? What if you are a fantastic teenage driver? You can beg and plead all you want, but insurance companies will not budge; there is no evidence to support you being innocent. There is no transparency.
At least there was no transparency before user-based insurance policies came along. However, the cofounders of Driveway Software, Jake Diner and Igor Katsman, still take issue with this system.
“Everybody understands that safe driving is cheaper for everybody,” Diner says. “No argument here. The problem is: how do we create new, safe drivers?”
Diner and Katsman took this question to heart and, through Driveway Software, have created a completely free app, cleverly named Drivewise.ly, that monitors the motion of a user’s smartphone.
The app measures crucial driving data like how far you drove, what time of day you are driving, how fast you are going, and any fluctuations in speed. This is done by complex algorithms designed by Diner and Katsman, both of whom have degrees in computer science and experience with companies like Belkin, Dell Corp, and GE.
When the driver has reached their destination, Drivewise.ly not only provides the aforementioned data, but also makes suggestions on how to improve the overall safety of their driving and conserve gasoline.
However, the true beauty of Driveway Software’s new app lies in the applications to the real world. Every driver owns the data supplied by their smartphone; it is unique to their driving style. Diner and Katsman, with impressive foresight, aim to have as many drivers as possible use this app to improve road safety.
In the future, Diner and Katsman hope that users will be able to present their raw data to an insurance agency who will have to supply a fair and reasonable rate based off quality, not demographics. Driveway Software is providing a new incentive to drive safely, thus improving the numbers of safe drivers.
“We want to take the power away from the insurance company and give the leverage to the customer,” Diner explains with conviction. “And since we are involved with no specific insurance agency, we want to be the guy that everybody trusts.”
Companies like Progressive, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, and GMAC use user-based insurance, but they also require an expensive add-on to be installed in the car. Drivewise.ly users only need a smartphone and the free app.
Diner and Katsman, motivated by reckless drivers, want to make driving an enjoyable activity versus a survival game. They are truly motivated by safety and transparency over money, hence their mission to create as many safe and aware drivers as possible. Also, with Los Angeles as their debut city, they will be able to observe positive change on a massive car culture before taking it further.
Try it out, see how to improve your driving, and learn how to save a few bucks on gas in the process. The only thing it might cost is a bit of pride in terms of your driving ego. But if it means safer streets and accountability for insurance agencies, then I’m game.
Drivewise.ly was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Los Angeles mixer.
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