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Renwick: progessive seeks agency growth of snapshot.

A discount program for auto customers who install a driving monitor is driving sales for Progressive Corp., according to President and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Renwick.

"We're still seeing our policies initiated with a Snapshot influence discount, whatever it might be, to be faster than the rates of growth that you're seeing as reported on aggregate," Renwick said on the fourth-quarter and full-year earnings call. And now, he added, Progressive is "starting to get a feel for the mix."

The Snapshot cohort of business, said Renwick, is "about 40% of direct business for places where it has been available for some time. "Acceptance in the direct channel "far exceeds the agency channel," he said, and Progressive recently took steps to encourage growth in the agency business with a new product that includes the upfront discount for installing the Snapshot device into an auto's on-board computer to record metrics.

"We were hoping to see agency uptake or the quotes to include Snapshot," said Renwick, and that is happening in two "higher premium states," Florida and Louisiana, where it has been introduced.

Progressive later in the year anticipates rolling out a Snapshot app that should duplicate what its on-board device does. Such an app would differ from previous versions, in that it will differentiate, for instance, whether a user is traveling in a plane, train or automobile, and whether a user is an auto driver or passenger.

Progressive frequently monitors and assesses Snapshot data, Renwick said. "We're sort of nutty about it."

Frequency increased across the board about 2% to 2.5% in 2015, said Renwick. "I'm not sure we're the anomaly in regard to the industry" at large, because "the rest of the industry may not have seen the frequency increase of an Allstate or a Geico."

On the topic of miles driven, Renwick said Progressive's most recent data could suggest that the threshold of miles driven has been reached. "The gas price change may have played its way through," he said, and with that has come a "1% shift to trips over 15 miles."

Looking at continually evolving vehicle technology to improve safety, Renwick allowed rates in the long-term "may be headed for a reduction."

Renee Kiriluk-Hill is an associate editor. She can be reached at

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Title Annotation:Spotlight on Personal Lines
Author:Kiriluk-Hill, Renee
Publication:Best's Review
Date:Apr 1, 2016
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