UPLIFT: One Year On

Sam Chapman - February 14th, 2020

Cars driving past a number of buildings

In February last year, The Floow started our work on the UPLIFT project. Over that time, we have worked on investigating a number of areas relating to the use of telematics within insurance propositions to inform risk understanding and policy pricing.

What is UPLIFT?

UPLIFT is a 21 month project, which started in February 2019, to strengthen the UK’s position in the motor insurance sector building upon telematics capability. The UPLIFT project is being funded by the Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund and is taking place across the UK to understand how to enhance the insurance industry through telematics. 

UPLIFT aims to empower improved and fairer insurance products to make mobility safer and smarter for all. It achieves this by looking at areas in risk understanding that could contain bias, unfairness or a lack of transparency for end users to understand and improve any areas that have the potential to be unfair.  

The project is primarily seeking to enhance technologies for improved and fairer risk understanding and importantly, building the means to ensure that new technologies bring gains in:

  • bias analysis, identification and reduction
  • increasing transparency, inclusion, privacy and fairness for consumers, and;
  • setting new industry standards in ethical data handling

What has UPLIFT investigated so far?

So far, the UPLIFT project has undertaken a vast amount of work to understand potential routes for bias. Each of these have then been investigated to ensure maximum fairness and bias removal when using telematics and related analytics for insurance purposes.

The key areas being investigated seek to ensure that advanced predictive methods do not encode societal bias unfairly. To ensure this, it has been vital to investigate areas of demographic deviations that can lead to technical or geographical differences e.g. where multiple demographics use a mix of smartphones and operating systems, there are differing means of data collection. 

In such cases, it is vital to ensure that regardless of the data capture platform and operating system being used, risk understanding remains fair, unbiased and focused solely on the driving task. As a result, a number of areas have been investigated in depth, including:

  • Whether scores and risk understanding are consistent across devices and operating systems
  • How multiple operating systems differ in the data which is available, e.g. depending on the technology being used, sensors and data quality can adjust over the course of a journey
  • Where processing approaches and algorithms have differing data inputs, this must be understood in order to ensure device agnosticity and fairness
  • Smartphone battery consumption during travel and how differential usage can impact on consistent high fidelity journey data collection during the journeys which individuals take

Across these and other areas, the aim has been to identify potential issues which may introduce bias or unfairness to the end user as well as exploring new methodologies to enhance future capabilities.  

Our analysis has also explored a long list of use case investigations including:

  • Cornering event detection – looking at solutions to enhance the ability of detecting cornering events consistently regardless of originating device. This work offers the opportunity to improve data collected from certain devices where GPS drift is more common
  • Looking at routing choices and junction behaviours – does data from junctions need to be captured differently in order to better understand driver behaviours and the use of uncommon routes as well as their correlation to risk?
  • The new focus on the use of vehicle data is also something that we are looking into as it is essential for us to understand any emerging bias which could occur within new insurance pricing and risk solutions

What’s next for UPLIFT?

Over the coming months, we will continue to grow our fine-grained understanding of risk with the aim to enable fairer, personalised and easier to understand insurance products for drivers.

For The Floow, UPLIFT remains important as it allows us to focus on better driver understanding which will ultimately benefit our clients (insurers) and their customers (policyholders) by allowing them to better understand their driving behaviour through journey scores and driver feedback.

To find out more about our work on this project, visit our UPLIFT page.

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