Insurance co. testing brain fitness software on older drivers

The Allstate insurance company is testing a program where drivers over 50 play a videogame designed to improve their driving abilities and reduce the number of accidents. According to a Chicago Tribune article, the software exercises visual processing speed and precision. If successful, the company may offer discounts to customers who go through the training. Over at SharpBrains, brain fitness consultant Alvaro Fernandez interviews Tom Warden, who runs Allstate's Research and Planning Center. From SharpBrains:

(Fernandez:) How will you measure success, and by when will you know if your expectations are met?

(Warden:) Given that we have already started recruiting participants and training may start as soon as next week, we may have some interesting results by the end of March 2009 or perhaps during the summer. In order to have statistically meaningful numbers, we will have to see how many people enroll in the study and the size of the observed impact.
We will analyze the program compliance rates since this type of intervention needs to be engaging enough for people to devote a number of hours to at home. But, at the end of the day, what we want to see is whether using the program will translate into lower accident rates and better safety.

A potential concern we have heard in similar cases, where an insurance company offered a computer-based assessment or training program, is Privacy. How can users of InSight who are also Allstate policy holders know that whatever information the program gathers cannot be used against them, for example to deny coverage or increase premiums?

That's a great question. We are aware of that potential concern, and we are putting processes in place so that Allstate doesn't get access to any cognitive information on a particular individual. The Posit Science program is gathering the information, and Posit Science will only share data with us at an aggregated level, for overall research purposes. Allstate will be completely blind as to who uses the program.

Insurance company tests brain fitness software