Insurance companies think smartphone distraction is driving up accident rates to the point where the connection between the two is surfacing in insurers’ earnings.
The connection between phones and collisions is surfacing in insurers’ earnings. Fourth-quarter underwriting results for personal auto insurance worsened at Travelers Cos., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., and Horace Mann Educators Corp., and all three said distracted driving was partly to blame. The three companies insure millions of vehicles across the U.S. “Distracted driving was always there, but it just intensified as more applications for the smartphones became available,” said Bill Caldwell, executive vice president of property and casualty at Horace Mann, in an interview. The insurer expects to raise rates 8% this year on top of average 6.5% increases in 2016.