This Company Is Changing the Future of Auto Insurance, and They’re Hiring

The team at Arity shared how their innovative tech could impact insurance in a big way.
Written by Brendan Meyer
June 8, 2021Updated: July 1, 2021

It’s common for insurance companies to provide discounts for safe drivers.

Normally, that data is accrued after an insurance company acquires a customer. Sometimes, they’ll provide a driver with a device for their car that records their driving habits — including their speed, acceleration, hard-braking and distracted driving. If the driver meets a safe threshold after an extended period of time, they’ll receive a discount.

But what if insurance companies had this data before they acquired a client? What if they could offer a discount because they already knew that someone was a safe driver? Better yet, what if the classic predictive variables like credit score, age and ZIP code played no role in the price of someone’s insurance, and instead, a driver was solely judged by their current driving habits?

That’s exactly what Arity is doing.

Founded by The Allstate Corporation, Arity is a mobility data and analytics company focused on improving the future of transportation. It collects and analyzes loads of data, using predictive analytics to build solutions for insurance companies, as well as other companies in the transportation ecosystem, to better price their clients.

“It’s the first time in history that insurance marketers have been able to segment and target people based on the way they actually drive,” Jen Gold, director of product marketing, said. “This is actual driving data we’re providing. So it’s exciting and very real, and we are at a point where we need to educate the market about it.”

Built In Chicago sat down with two team members on the marketing solutions team, Gold and Fred Dimesa, head of marketing and aggregated data products, to learn more.

 

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ARITY

 

I understand that the marketing solutions team is one of Arity’s new segments. How did this team originate, and why?

Dimesa: I actually helped originate this team. Back in 2016, I was working at Answer Financial, which is also under The Allstate Corporation. We were looking at telematics and how to use telematics to make better marketing choices for insurance companies. How do we generate more leads? How do we get more quality into the funnel for our partners? We identified that the challenge with telematics is you get these fantastic insights about risk, but you don’t get them until after the person is a customer. Whatever their risk, you’ve already brought them in, and the best thing you can hope to do with telematics is price them appropriately after a policy cycle.

So we wondered, “What if you actually had all of that information upfront, then made decisions on how much to spend to acquire better customers versus worse customers, and do it in a way that fundamentally is more fair to a customer?” The data would be based on current behaviors, not what a driver did in the past, but how they drive their vehicle now, and how often. That’s what we set out to do. The challenge with that is: how do you get data? 

Answer: We started building partnerships with mobile apps where driving was relevant to the consumer, and where we could feed back to the consumer information about how they drive and then give them offers based on that. To do that, we needed to partner with Arity, because Arity owned the driving engine software development kit (SDK). At first, we started off as separate entities working with each other. But then it became pretty apparent as we gained some success that this was truly an Arity product line. And so that’s how my time with Arity began.

 

What kind of apps are you partnering with in order to get this data?

Dimesa: Family safety apps like Life360 or weather apps, like WeatherBug. Places where we can create experiences around driving data. The key is transparency to the consumer, so they actually understand what’s being tracked, and the benefit of it, in addition to potential savings on insurance. Savings on insurance from our perspective isn’t going to be enough to get someone to share that much data. You’ve got to give them something more.

The key is transparency to the consumer, so they actually understand whats being tracked, and the benefit of it, in addition to potential savings on insurance.’’

Gold: Implementing our SDK enables mobile apps to become part of our mobile ad network, the Arity Private Marketplace. It allows them to automatically display ads on their mobile app, and start earning money through a revenue sharing agreement. 

The SDK also includes a cool Collision Detection feature that alerts users when they’ve been in a collision, and can tie into users’ contacts, who can be alerted in real-time along with emergency services. Another feature of the SDK is it enables an app to understand where its users travel frequently, what kinds of routes and commutes they often take, which enables the app to be predictive about that information.

 

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Arity

 

How have recent privacy laws regarding consumer data changed the way Arity and other similar companies who acquire user data operate?

Dimesa: Over time, we’ve seen a continuous march for privacy and transparency for the user. It all started with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law in 2018, which imposed obligations onto organizations anywhere in the world so long as they target or collect data from people in Europe. That set the stage for new laws, like Apple’s recent decision to allow users to decide whether they want to opt in or opt out of in-app ad tracking.

In all, I think it’s actually been good for the business. It’s created challenges of knowing what you need to comply with. It’s nice because it’s not the wild west anymore. There used to be a lot of people doing things they shouldn’t be doing with data, and so now there are clear rules. Now we actually have a playbook that we can follow, and that’s what we do.

You have to invest in compliance to make sure you are doing this right. We’re not in the business of telling everyone about all of your business. We’re here to really grab the insights that are valuable to you as a consumer and use those insights in a way that doesn’t allow everybody access to your data. At the end of the day, we were already pretty privacy-centric as a company, and we’re glad to see that the rest of the world is catching up.

 

LIFE-SAVING DATA

Arity is constantly receiving success stories from their back-end technology, and none are more powerful than the stories where it potentially saved someone’s life. Take a recent example from Life360. A teenager was in a bad car wreck in Kansas. After awaiting his arrival back home, his mom opened up the Life360 app and noticed that her son wasn’t where he was supposed to be. She was able to use his location to find him and call authorities. “We hear about these stories a lot. It’s powerful to know that’s our technology that saved this teen's life,” Stacy Silver, communications manager at Arity, said.

 

What excites you most about being on the marketing solutions team?

Gold: We’re in the middle of two industries, ad tech and insurance. Insurance has been around for a very long time, and ad tech has been around for roughly 25 years. What we’re doing at Arity on the marketing solutions team is pretty disruptive; it’s different from anything that’s existed before, both on the ad tech side and on the insurance side. We have the ability to understand how people move throughout the world, and reach them in a relevant, contextual way at scale. It’s really cool to be at the forefront of that and figure out how to wield a new set of tools to help marketers make better connections with their prospects and their customers.

Dimesa: I think what’s really interesting is just the diversity of ideas and the diversity of experiences on this team. We have people who’ve been working for 30-plus years; people who are fresh out of school; people who are data scientists and engineers and marketers and strategists. Being able to have all of that in one room is interesting, because you learn a lot. It pushes you to learn new skills and embrace new ideas.

 

 

What does the future look like in this industry?

Gold: It’s exciting, but it’s challenging because what we’re trying to do is change the way that a set of marketers, which are mainly insurance marketers, think about what success looks like. 

We’re at an inflection point in adtech because of all of the new regulations we talked about. Privacy has increased and consumer control over their data has increased and things like third-party cookies are going away. But there are also new things coming. At Arity, we’re trying to educate insurance marketers about how they should be looking at the results of their campaigns in a different way, and also planning their campaigns around the way people truly drive. It’s the first time in history that insurance marketers have been able to target people based on the way they actually drive, and not just make assumptions like in the past.

It is somewhere between working inside of a startup and working inside of a large enterprise, in that we have actual resources and not short, VC-type timelines.’’

Dimesa: It’s a dynamic space to be working in. You have to be comfortable with change and be creative. We’re trying to change a 100-year-old industry and get insurance marketers to think differently about what their KPIs should be. We’re trying to get the industry to change and focus less on the cost of acquisition, and more on what good drivers mean to their book of business. The challenge with that is we’re changing a slow-moving industry. It’s a conservative industry, and rightfully so. But it’s looking to change, and the bigger companies have as much likelihood of changing the industry as these new startups. We’re here to work with all of them, so that makes Arity a fascinating place to be.

It is somewhere between working inside of a startup and working inside of a large enterprise, in that we have actual resources and not short, VC-type timelines. We know this is a big challenge. We know it’s going to take time and resources. We’re not trying to just make a quarterly number here.

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