Ford Sharing Driving Data With Allstate, Plans Loyalty Credit Card

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Adhering to the latest industry trends, Ford has made a deal with insurer Allstate to share customer driving data and plans to issue a loyalty credit card tied into its rewards program. While the latter is in the service of retaining customers (with the help of Visa) in the second quarter of this year, the insurance partnership is technically already active. The Blue Oval is by no means the only automaker involved in such programs. Like other automakers, Ford has already partnered with insurance companies in regional programs aimed at assessing how customers drive, using the collected information to adjust policies. Originally, this involved devices installed with the customer’s consent that transmitted telemetric data back to home base. Later versions were able to use on-board systems in conjunction with a downloadable app. Now, with connected cars becoming the norm, Allstate says it can just get the information directly from vehicles via manufacturer data centers.
Reporting from Bloomberg indicates that most Ford and Lincoln models manufactured moving forward will contain embedded modems that will sync directly with Allstate’s Milewise program. While largely dependent upon the installation of an external device beneath the steering column, the company says that won’t be necessary in the future. Framed as a way to help drivers who don’t cover a lot of ground save money, Milewise actually tracks miles driven, vehicle speed, time of day, specific driving events (like sudden braking) and location. While we’d like to assume that information is behind handled responsibly, the company is already testing a program that allows clients to see how driving habits affect a personalized price. We’re relatively certain it will receive pushback in relation to the California Consumer Privacy Act — a bit of legislation that’s already complicating the industry’s push into data-driven businesses. There’s also the consumer advocacy groups and right-to-repair organizations popping up around the country, focused on limiting the amount of influence an automaker has on a car after purchase — and who has access to the data amassed while driving. Allstate was recently named “One of the World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere (a for-profit company we’ve never heard of). It’s doubtful that accolade means they’ll give you a pass the next time your data profile is flagged for exceeding the posted speed limit or you stop short to avoid crushing a dog. That hardly seems profitable.
“Connected vehicles have the potential to deliver new benefits to Ford customers, including the ability to help lower their insurance premiums,” Kari Novatney, COO of the automaker’s FordPass mobile program, explained. Ginger Purgatorio, Allstate’s senior vice president of product management, said the agreement with Ford will offer drivers “the ability to control and customize their auto insurance policy like never before.” Ford’s credit card is a bit more straightforward. Tied to the FordPass Rewards system, using it supposedly allows cardholders to earn 5 percent back on certain Ford transactions, plus another 5 percent via the rewards program. Purchases relating to gasoline, parking expenses, repairs, auto insurance and dining out yield 1 percent back on all other purchases. Interest is set at zero for the first six months on all transactions surpassing $499 at Ford/Lincoln shops, according to dealer info acquired by Automotive News. There is no dealer participation fee and Ford’s retailers are expected to earn a $65 sign-up bonus for each person enrolled and approved.

Ford declined to comment about the plan.

From Automotive News:
The card is the latest effort by the automaker to boost customer loyalty and retention. The company in late 2018 tapped Elena Ford, a great-great-granddaughter of Henry Ford, to become its chief customer experience officer, and in 2019 rolled out the points-based FordPass Rewards program. Competitors including General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have similar credit card offerings. Ford introduced a card for business owners in 2000 and offers a Quick Lane credit card, although it’s unclear whether that will continue when the new card is launched.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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