By on March 3, 2020

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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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30 Comments on “Ford Sharing Driving Data With Allstate, Plans Loyalty Credit Card...”

  • avatar

    “Framed as a way to help drivers who don’t cover a lot of ground save money”


  • avatar

    This is reprehensible. Base insurance rates will only ever continue to rise, but now they will target individual drivers for larger hikes or drop them altogether. Those horrendous automatic braking systems are becoming mandatory on all cars and they get enough false positives to get someone an SR-22.

  • avatar

    Making sure they know how often people avoid Mayhem? Lol.

  • avatar

    Big Blue Oval Brother Is Watching.

  • avatar

    A few Points:
    1) Didn’t a TTAC staff member review the Regressive plug in a few years back and gave it a no thank you?
    2) Deciding to no longer make cars is a Great way to retain customers.
    3) I have stage 2 brake pads, slotted rotors and braided brake lines. I relish at the g’s I get. This system would not differentiate between looking up from a text and a late apex by yourself. Pure BS.
    4) I guess I have to tell my wife her new Bronco is off the table!

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      As one who does a good amount of In Vehicle security, putting such a device in your OBDII port and thus exposing your vehicle’s CAN bus to the internet is a terrible idea.

  • avatar

    “The card is the latest effort by the automaker to boost customer loyalty and retention.”

    Yeah, selling my driving habits to an insurer I don’t even use is the number 1 reason I wouldn’t buy another Ford.

  • avatar

    I wonder how much Allstate is paying Ford for the data? You know that nothing is free in the world of business. In the end, the consumer will always get the shaft.

    Thank you, Ford, for continuing to justify why I divorced your brand as my car of choice after 37 years of “marriage”. Hyundai is doing just fine with me and I’ve already had more communication from them after buying a used car after one year of ownership than I did from you in 22 years with my last brand new Ford. You can shove your CUV’s and SUV’s up that bald headed fool’s backside for all I care.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Does your Hyundai have the Android Auto/CarPlay set up? If so, it is a Verizon modem and what exactly do you think “Blue Link” actually is?

      I don’t like this policy, but if you are reeeeeealy against it so much, you may want to research your product a bit.

      And yes…much communication have I had with Hyundai of late. Sadly it has all been via the ol’ Recall Notice.

  • avatar

    There is already a program like this that comes with our Bolt, although it doesn’t send data to an insurer, it just lets you play for a score. My problem with it is that it is incredibly stupid about what constitutes safe driving. Any hard braking event is a demerit… would the car rather that I run over that pedestrian who just walked into the street? And it doesn’t have a source of speed limit data, so it just thinks “speeding” means “exceeds 80 mph” regardless of context.

  • avatar

    People, data can only be sent if you don’t wrap the unit into aluminum foil.

  • avatar
    Funky D

    There better be an opt-out method that involves removing such device or I will never drive a Ford again. I would certainly not want any of my data sent to a company which I do NOT do business with.

    • 0 avatar

      My thoughts exactly. And yet, I bet there isn’t.

      Don’t be fooled, however, Ford is in no way the only car company doing this. At this point I’d be shocked if a car company WASN’T doing stuff like this.

      I’m also shocked that there is actually a California law I think I agree with. People should absolutely have a right to know where their data is and revoke consent to use personal data.

  • avatar

    Most of us who live in the real modern world of technology understand that electronics collect data and likely store some of it onboard. Maybe some don’t understand that Big Brother is one subpoena away from having access to that data in traffic cases. That is scary enough. If what Ford does is to then harvest the data for internal use, that would not be such a bad thing – maybe it could be used to improve future vehicles (yeah, right!). But then to turn around and to sell the data to an insurance company – that is outrageous. I see no reason Ford would be so incompetent as to give the data for free.

  • avatar

    This adds to the reasons I inhibited all the connectivity possibilities from my ’19 F350. I bought the vehicle, not the “help” from the manufacturer. We’re heading toward the John Deere-style of “We own the technology and data from the tractor we ‘sold’ you”.

  • avatar

    In the 1970s, during the interval between imposition of the first exhaust emission limits and introduction of catalytic converters and computer engine controls, the best car to buy was a well maintained, 1960s model from a rust free part of the country. It looks like we are getting into a similar situation due to intrusive nannies and electronic snitches. This collusion between Ford and Allstate is only the beginning.

  • avatar

    The connected cars won’t stream the data live, they’ll buffer it locally for some amount of time and upload it periodically. I wonder that, if the car can’t establish a connection, how long it goes before it overwrites what was first in line (perhaps “throw a code” if it can’t connect?). And if it will be downloaded by the dealer via OBD the next time you go in for service or a “complimentary 19 point inspection”. Disabling the cellular transceiver will thwart part of their plan but the on-board GPS will also have to be disabled to prevent location data being available. Even then, speed, hard braking events, high-G cornering etc. could still be logged.

  • avatar

    “The Blue Oval is by no means the only automaker involved in such programs”

    People will conveniently overlook this little bit of text because, well, Ford.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    As much as I want a car that’s comfortable and reliable, I am increasingly thinking that i will only drive analog cars for the rest of my driving years. And with the newer ‘old’ cars being difficult to work on, I guess I’m looking at vehicles from the early-70s and older.

  • avatar

    Hey Ford, how much are you paying customers who reside in California for their info? I’ll cheerfully sell you my info – $500/month.

  • avatar

    F this S. We need comprehensive data privacy laws yesterday.

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