Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
United Kingdom Businesses Microsoft The Almighty Buck IT Technology

Admiral Charges Hotmail Users More For Car Insurance (thetimes.co.uk) 345

One of Britain's biggest car insurers has admitted increasing premiums for drivers who apply using a Hotmail account. From a report: Motorists seeking cover from Admiral could be charged $45 extra if they use certain email addresses. The insurer said some domain names were "associated with more accidents" than others, raising applicants' risk profile. Figures from the Association of British Insurers to be published today show that the cost of car insurance has increased by more than a quarter over the past three years. Admiral said that hundreds of factors were used by underwriters in setting car insurance, with riskier motorists paying more. Issues included the age of a driver and their postcode.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Admiral Charges Hotmail Users More For Car Insurance

Comments Filter:
  • WTF!? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @11:45AM (#55999909)
    The insurance industry is just crazy! Plum fucking loco.
    • WTF changed 3 or 4 years ago in Britain? Major insurer closed? Change in liability laws? Lucas electric reopened?

      25% in 3 years? Was it being artificially held down?

      • Re:WTF!? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @12:04PM (#56000133)

        Apparently the issue is mostly that modern cars have really fancy bumpers. A bumper that includes a bunch of camera equipment, and range sensors, and all kinds of other fancy gadgetry costs a lot. That means that fender benders cost a lot to repair now, when they used to be trivially cheap. It also means that fender benders tend to get reported to the insurer now, when they used to just be ignored.

        • Re:WTF!? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by PrimaryConsult ( 1546585 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @12:14PM (#56000255)

          It seems to be particularly worse in Europe. A minor scrape to a bumper while parking is cause for police reports and waiting around, whereas in the US a note with contact/insurance info under the wiper (or just a pile of cash obscured by a note) is the standard response.

          • Re:WTF!? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @12:29PM (#56000413)

            Maybe because in Europe (hell, probably all over the world) the standard has become to not leave contact info but a mocking note instead.

          • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

            That's not the America I live in.

            SOP seems to be to drive off and hope you were unnoticed.

          • Re:WTF!? (Score:5, Funny)

            by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @12:54PM (#56000655) Homepage Journal

            A minor scrape to a bumper while parking is cause for police reports and waiting around, whereas in the US a note with contact/insurance info under the wiper (or just a pile of cash obscured by a note) is the standard response.

            Hmm...I guess the last few times I came out in the parking lot, to see one side or the other of my caved in by someone pulling out and hitting me, that the note just must have blown off the windshield...

            Man, these days, I wonder if drivers are getting their licenses out of a box of Cracker Jacks or something....NO ONE can seem to drive these days. And the worst offenders, seem to be the ones driving the largest trucks and SUVs.

            I drive a small 2 seater sports car. And each time I've come out to see the side of my car caved in (one time side view mirror also ripped off)...it was from parking next to a large truck.

            Ok, maybe they weren't paying enough attention and didn't see my car, but surely they felt the impact while they turned out of the parking space and were scraping the full length of my car...??

            These folks have NO fscking clue where they are in space with relation to their truck/car.

            These days, I see it VERY often with pulling up to the line at a stop light.

            Rather than pull all the way up to line, more and more of these Bozos are at least almost one car length away from the line.....like they stop when they see the nose of their large truck at the line, which is NOT near the line.

            Even if they see me pulled way ahead of them to the line, they don't move.

            In New Orleans, where we have neutral grounds (medians as others call them) on almost all roads...if making a left turn, you have a limited number of cars that can fit....and these assholes are keeping at least 1-2 cars from being able to wait for the lights to change and complete the left turn.

            Its like no one taught them how to drive and judge where you car is in space.....

            I won't even get into who none can seem (especially LARGE trucks/SUVs) to fscking PARK in between the lines, nor do they realize the swinging the door open full force when getting out, *might* just cause it to hit the car parked beside it....

            [/rant mode off...going to get a cool drink]

            • by lgw ( 121541 )

              Rather than pull all the way up to line, more and more of these Bozos are at least almost one car length away from the line.....like they stop when they see the nose of their large truck at the line, which is NOT near the line.

              I started seeing this in California a few years back - blew my mind. Often room for a whole extra car in front of them - are they seeing an invisible car I'm not, or something? For some reason I don't see this problem in Texas - must be because the truck is just an extension of one's self.

              • I know someone who does this. She thinks it will save her insurance in the case of a rear end collision. She won't get pushed into the car in front of her.

                She doesn't understand how demand lites work. I've stopped trying to convince her that the right move is to pull up once the car behind her has come to a complete stop.

                Convinced she's a great driver...because she once drove a cab...but wanted to argue that cars fronts don't drop when the driver hits the brakes...never even heard of weight transfer.

          • by Kjella ( 173770 )

            In what country do they have the police budget for that? Not here in Norway at least unless there's injury to a person, it impedes traffic or there's suspicion of drunk driving. Accidents are only property damage you fill out a form together with separate forms in the back if you disagree on what happened, check license plate and ID the file it with the insurance. If the other driver is not there, most people bail. Some pretend to give contact info and bail. Some give contact info and leave. Some hang aroun

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            In the UK car parks are usually designed to damage your car. The spaces are too small, the turns difficult and there are hidden obstacles everywhere.

            I've noticed that in some other countries they avoid those things and all the cars look immaculate.

          • Re:WTF!? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@poetELIOTic.com minus poet> on Thursday January 25, 2018 @04:20PM (#56002845)

            The note I found under my wiper said "So there are 5, no 7 people standing around watching me write this note. A couple of them are nodding approvingly, probably because they think I'm writing my name and insurance info. Sorry, that's not going to happen but I hope the rest of your day goes better."

        • Bumper covers have been about half (in terms of $) of all bodywork in America for decades.

          Aren't most backup cameras etc in the tailgate/trunk lid?

          3 years represents what % of the English car fleet? I know they junk cars in the UK when still almost new. Weird laws...not as bad as Japan.

          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            Bumper covers have been about half (in terms of $) of all bodywork in America for decades.

            Yeah... it's kind of ridiculous. What we should have is a few laws to encourage vehicles be designed with inexpensive bumpers, E.G.:
            (1) Every car shall provide a highly-visible exposed bumpers in good condition covering the front and rear of the vehicle for the purpose of absorbing the shock of a low-speed collision, damage caused to a vehicle with missing or faulty bumpers shall be the responsibility of the owne

          • It's not simple backup cameras here, it's cameras for lane keep assist, or adaptive cruise control, or ...

          • Also, junking cars in the UK when they're young is nothing to do with weird laws, it's to do with being on an island surrounded by salt water. A car that makes it to 150,000 miles in the UK is close to a miracle, because everything will have turned to rust by then.

        • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

          Maybe that shot shouldn't go on a part of the car that is meant to be sacrificial.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          A bumper that includes a bunch of camera equipment, and range sensors, and all kinds of other fancy gadgetry costs a lot.

          Last time I ever had a bumper fixed at the body shop it was $1000, with no equipment in it.

          A replacement camera piece of the approximate resolution used for backup cameras is about $50, and range sensors are even less expensive.

          I gotta call BS on this. If there are added significant costs, then it's something else other than the relatively inexpensive electronic parts.

          • by dkman ( 863999 )

            Yea. I scraped the back bumper and broke the tail light cover.

            The tail light "assembly" would be $300.
            The bumper would be $300.
            The molded plastic "spoiler" attached at the bottom of the bumper would be $400.

            I said "excuse me?"

            So I bought the tail light assembly online for $150 and replaced it myself. The bumper remains scraped as a reminder of how ridiculous car parts are.

        • Seconded. My 11 year old chevy, the bumpers are just plastic over foam, pop right off, and if they're scratched they can go into the paint shop in one piece. My wife's newer VW, the bumpers have reflectors that need to be masked off and electronics that need to be disconnected, even if they're not broken. More labor cost for the cosmetic portion of the repair even if none of the fancy widgets need fixing.
          • VWs are just _terrible_ these days.

            The first step to replace the brake master cylinder on a new 'bug'? Remove front bumper. No bullshit. It's like the old bad jokes about English cars, but true.

            Even my German cousin has VW on his 'never again' list. If you know any Germans, that should tell you just how shitty VWs are.

    • They are desperately trying to find ways to predict which customers will cause what insurance claims so they can avoid the ones that will actually cost them money while offering favorable rates to those that will just keep paying without ever having an insurance claim. That's the business they're in.

      That can (and does) take very bizarre forms. Like this one.

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        The real question is (assuming their risk-analysis people aren't just chasing butterflies) -- what mechanism would correlate Hotmail accounts with a statistically greater risk of loss?

      • by hawk ( 1151 )

        close, but not quite.

        It's a matter of getting each to pay its own way. They're *quite* happy to take a high-about customer, as long as premiums cover average losses.

        Insurance compares (in general) don't actually make their money by charging more premiums the the claims cost, although they make a tiny bit there (something like 1 of premium,iirc).

        Rather, they make their profits from having use of the money between pay-i and pay-out--and do quite nicely from investing this way.

        hawk

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        They are desperately trying to find ways to predict which customers will cause what insurance claims so they can avoid the ones that will actually cost them money while offering favorable rates to those that will just keep paying without ever having an insurance claim. That's the business they're in.

        The problem with widely different rates depending on risk is that it makes insurance less attractive.

        If, as the insurance companies seem to want, they can calculate the risk very accurately and set the premium accordingly, so every customer pays in more than they get paid out, then customers will be better off putting the money in a savings account and taking up a loan if an accident happens before the savings account is big enough.

        The whole insurance principle is based on not knowing. It's gambling. You

    • There are some factors I could expect to go on here.
      Hotmail popular from late 1990's to the early 2000's. As a free Web Service to check emails. So... Statically we can get the following generalization of the person.

      These are GENERALIZATIONS they are expectation.

      1. Their age: The Hotmail user is probably over 40 years of age. Being the service is over 20 years old, and most people getting into it, do so in around their 20's or Later, possibly in their late teens. (Only an unpopular geek (at the time) woul

      • I have a Hotmail address. It's the one I give out when ordering stuff and to businesses that ask for one. I expect it to get spammed.
        I have a gmail address for personal stuff ...and a work email for work stuff ...and an email provided by my ISP, which I hardly ever use.

        (and four or five throw-away email accounts for stuff I don't want connected with me)

        I'm not sure why any of these addresses show me to be more or less likely to make an insurance claim. Thankfully, my insurance company doesn't have my emai

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @11:45AM (#55999919) Journal
    At first glance I feel like this is horrible and unfair, but if they ran the numbers and for some reason hotmail users have more accidents then it's only fair they charge more for hotmail users.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Now do the same based on gender, race or religion... sit back and eat popcorn.

    • At first glance I feel like this is horrible and unfair, but if they ran the numbers and for some reason hotmail users have more accidents then it's only fair they charge more for hotmail users.

      "Some reason" is the key here. What's the causal link between accidents and email domain? It's one thing to say behavior X decreases driver attention therefore car crashes are more likely therefore your rates are going up. But to just hit up customers based on coincidence? Causation really does require correlation but not the other way around.

      • They don't need to establish what the causation is, only that there is a reliable correlation. With a reliable correlation, they can predict more accurately who will get in an accident, and that's all that matters.

      • That is only if you're trying to scientifically draw a link between two things for some other intent (I.e.. to treat a disease, or to model the climate.) Financial matters beyond economic decisions don't need this, they just need to be able to make predictions. Investors use similar methodology to try to predict stock prices, and it mostly works.

    • It must be the sheer stupidity or cluelessness of hotmail users.

    • If all I have to do to reduce the risk of having an automobile accident is change my email addresses then I'm all for it.

    • I have two main identities, my hotmail account that i have had since 1998 and my gmail account i have had since 2004. IM the same person and have the same risk regardless of which ID i give them...Judging risk based on this criteria is stupid.
    • That's just fucking stupid. Hotmail probably has a far larger userbase than most other email providers, and there's really no tie between location and email domain. So it's not like a case where people in a large city would be charged more than people in a smaller city for insurance (large city = more cars, more traffic, more risk). This is just straight-up scamming.

      They would have been smarter to target people with Instagram/Snapchat accounts that are more likely to take selfies and pictures while th
    • my guess is there's some protected class they want to raise fees on that happens to have a higher percentage of hotmail accounts. I can't imagine what, since as far as I know they're allowed to discriminate on age and sex. Maybe race? Weird things happen with demographics and data sometimes.
  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @11:46AM (#55999925)

    Did the insurance company dismiss applications made by users of Yahoo! email on account of being mentally unfit?

  • As I'm writing this, I can't read the whole article unless I give my contact information so I'm going to wait for somebody to post another link.

    I'd love to see the analysis behind the rate increase for HotMail users - I'm guessing there are other factors that come into play that causes them to use HotMail (maybe an extra/missing chromosome?). Personally, I don't know of anybody I currently correspond with who use HotMail (checked my contact lists) but maybe this is something that is different between North

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Could it say something about people who use Microsoft products?

      This.

      They are already overpaying for second rate crap.

    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
      I use hotmail when I'm sure my email address is going to get sold to an advertising firm.

      I think their junk mail scanning is pretty good, I check my inbox maybe twice per week and I usually have less than 10 unread emails. Not bad for a hotmail account that has been active for approximately 25 years. I haven't used it for personal communication in around 20 years.
  • Could there be a lot of Hotmail users, who have been thrown through the windshield from an accident, that have been found still clutching their phones with a half finished email?

    If that's the case, then I don't have any issues with them getting higher insurance rates.

    • Could there be a lot of Hotmail users, who have been thrown through the windshield from an accident, that have been found still clutching their phones with a half finished email?

      If that's the case, then I don't have any issues with them getting higher insurance rates.

      They claim they use hundreds of metrics to determine insurance rates. Just how far down that rabbit hole are you willing to allow them to go in order to justify gouging the consumer? Sexual orientation? Eye color? DNA sampling?

  • I always do those "anonymous" quotes with a throwaway hotmail account and, if I like the price, do it for real with my actual information. So that means that they'll automatically lose my business because I don't want to deal with spam from a company I don't choose to use.
    • Take it a step further. Have an email address for every company you deal with (password safes make it easily manageable). That way you can actually see which companies sell your address and to whom and when. It's actually pretty fun to see which are the worst offenders.

      • This has backfired for me a few times, especially with small businesses. "Oh you work for us?" Or my favorite was when one threatened to sue me for copyright infringement for using their name. Couldn't just walk away b/c it was a medical bill processor or something like that (I forget the details).
      • Do you know a password manager that will automagically signup for new throwaway emails? (I'll do the captcha if needed)

        That would be a useful feature.

  • I'm trying to think of why that's the case - maybe more Hotmail accounts are used as source addresses for spam and more effort is required to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    I tried to search on this but couldn't find any current articles/references commenting on this.

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      I'm guessing they used some machine learning algorithm and included email domain as one of the features. Makes you wonder what else they included
    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      the cost of doing quotes for all those fake hotmail accounts that people are explaining above? :)

      Before Comdex exploded, conventioneers were complaining that the casinos were gouging them on room rates, which were higher than other times of year.

      No, they weren't;t coughing. Aside from the fact that *every* hotel charges by demand for that day/week, in this case, the casinos were *not* trying to get higher room rates for them. Rather, they were trying to keep those folks away, as they (as a group) neither

  • As long as they hide the criteria in a block box and call it "AI", they should be fine?

    I mean we "don't know" why AI makes the decisions it does, right?

  • by hipsterdufus ( 42989 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @12:04PM (#56000137)

    Who has a hotmail account? Who would create a hotmail account. Older people have them, of course. I would suggest that even older people might have an aol.com account.

    • > Who would create a hotmail account.

      For me, it depends. If it's for something I anticipate using on an ongoing basis, I have a 'commercial email' email account on my own server and I just add another alias to it (so I know which company sold me out when I start getting spammed).

      If it's a one-off, I use a Hotmail throw-away and let Microsoft deal with the spam.

    • This.

      The actuaries have the database team do a sort of cartesian product across a bunch of data (location, distance to work, type of vehicle, age (of driver and vehicle), driving/ticket history, income, apparently email address, etc.) to look for patterns.

      I could easily see over 100 variables going into pricing.

      For the record, actuarial education.

       

    • How about Compuserve.com? Particularly if their address is still in 7xxxx,xx format.
    • by jaseuk ( 217780 )

      MSN Messenger was really big in the UK particularly with under 12s - messenger was the chat app of choice. My 19 year old and 11 year old have hotmail addresses for that reason. Don't forget the xbox factor as well. That was cut in 2013 so there are still a lot of 18-30 somethings using hotmail addresses. Older people with fixed lines (and stability) tend to use ISP given addresses or their work accounts. Not the defacto e-mail address they ended up using from playing games or chatting with friends.

      So

    • Umm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @12:45PM (#56000583)

      Thiny veiled age discrimmination

      You do know that age is already a factor in calculating insurance prices, right?

  • They must be using one of the half-assed excuses for 'AI' everyone keeps trotting out, convincing customers that it's fully sentient and incapable of making mistakes, even if you can't talk to it or in any way have it explain it's 'reasoning' (in quotes because they're utterly devoid of any actual capacity for 'reasoning'), and therefore aren't having humans audit it's output.
  • AOL (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @12:09PM (#56000177) Journal
    Hate to think how much more they'd charge someone with an AOL email address, then.
  • "Admiral said that hundreds of factors were used by underwriters in setting car insurance..."

    Apparently hundreds wasn't enough to avoid fucking over customers with an email address.

    Time to go see if FuckYouAdmiral.com is available, for email correspondence of course.

    Can't believe this isn't illegal. This is like a gas station charging red cars 10 cents more per gallon.

    • by hipp5 ( 1635263 )

      Can't believe this isn't illegal. This is like a gas station charging red cars 10 cents more per gallon.

      No it's not. An insurance company's costs are tied to risk. Higher risk customers cost them more. So either they run the numbers and charge people based on their risk, or they don't run the numbers and charge everyone equivalently and the low-risk people are subsidizing the high-risk people. They've run the numbers, and it's come out that Hotmail users are higher risk.

      A gas station's costs are in no way tied to the colour of a car, and would be no basis upon which to charge different prices.

      • Can't believe this isn't illegal. This is like a gas station charging red cars 10 cents more per gallon.

        No it's not. An insurance company's costs are tied to risk. Higher risk customers cost them more. So either they run the numbers and charge people based on their risk, or they don't run the numbers and charge everyone equivalently and the low-risk people are subsidizing the high-risk people. They've run the numbers, and it's come out that Hotmail users are higher risk.

        Oh, they've run the numbers? Nothing like hiring your own auditor. They are using hundreds of metrics, and yet an email address is suddenly deemed a valid one? This opens up an endless rabbit hole of relentless greed. Their parent company touts a 48% increase of revenue over the last 5 years raking in over 7 billion, so let's stop bullshitting about costs as if they're hurting. This isn't about charging certain customers less; this is about gouging customers for more.

        How far are you willing to let the

        • by hipp5 ( 1635263 )

          How far are you willing to let them go to tie your wallet to their risk? If they determined that sexual orientation was a risk factor, should they be allowed to charge more for the LGBTQ+ crowd? How about eye color? DNA screening? Discrimination, or merely risk mitigation?

          I think it's entirely possible to draw a line in the sand where it makes sense for costs to be spread around collectively. Drawing the line at protected groups seems like a pretty good place to start. No need to invoke the slippery slope argument.

          As an aside, my province banned the use of gender (and maybe age, I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure) in setting insurance rates. It was great for me at the time (a 17-year-old male), but in general it sucked for everyone else because their premiums went up to c

        • by hipp5 ( 1635263 )

          Their parent company touts a 48% increase of revenue over the last 5 years.

          I wouldn't be surprised if that has more to do with financial markets than premiums. Insurance companies are highly invested in securities. Five years ago happens to be the end of the Great Recession.

    • Don't insurers charge red cars higher rates already? ;)

      (No, it's a myth [insurance.com])
  • Let's ignore the obvious correlation is not causation argument for a brief moment, and skip to the other major plot hole in this story: To whom are they comparing these reckless Hotmail.com users? What e-mail service represents a lower incidence of automotive accidents?

    Reading below the fold in that article (which requires registration -- but not confirmation of that registration, so any fake e-mail address will do fine) seems to reveal that this was a simple a|b study, comparing Hotmail.com users to Gmail.

  • If that's the only way they can stay in business given the pool they are marketing to, I'm not sure I have that much of a problem with it. Let's face it, they aren't targeting the low risk, high premium customer with those ads.
  • Is the only one that relies upon NOT serving its customers. What if it's an actual statistic that Black people are in more car accidents - by this logic, wouldn't it be ok for insurers to charge them more for insurance?
  • ...and they heard Microsoft crashes more? Badabump.

    • ...and they heard Microsoft crashes more? Badabump.

      Yes. iCloud.com users get a discount, with Mac.com getting an extra one do to their advanced age.

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@poetELIOTic.com minus poet> on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:46PM (#56001129)

    Statistics have no greater financial significance than in insurance. Anal-ists pour over the numbers and draw conclusions that can make or break a company. Your age, origin, location, marriage status and more can put you in a category of higher or lower risk. But there are considerations more surprising than you see in TFS...

    A major US insurance company offered low cost premiums to 'qualified' drivers. Many of the qualifications were publicly available, but there were some that were never spoken of. One of these secret rules given to agents was that any prospective client wearing boots was to be disqualified. Agents didn't know why this rule, but had to follow it.

"When people are least sure, they are often most dogmatic." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

Working...