US automotive giant General Motors has ended its partnerships with two major data brokers, after it was accused of sharing information on drivers without their consent.

    Earlier this month, The New York Times published an in-depth investigation about a Chevrolet Bolt owner who had been quoted a significantly higher insurance renewal premium, later discovering his driving data was being sold to insurance firms by data broker LexisNexis.

    This was followed by a second report, detailing a proposed class action lawsuit put forward by a Cadillac XT6 owner who claimed he was denied insurance by seven companies on account of his LexisNexis driving report provided to the firms.

    The Cadillac’s owner – Romeo Chicco – filed the lawsuit against General Motors, LexisNexis and OnStar, GM’s connected services brand.

    In the wake of the reports, The New York Times reports General Motors had ended its partnership with both LexisNexis and Verisk, a similar company which also sold driving data to insurance companies.

    “OnStar Smart Driver customer data is no longer being shared with LexisNexis or Verisk,” said a statement from General Motors to the publication.

    “Customer trust is a priority for us, and we are actively evaluating our privacy processes and policies.”

    According to The New York Times, an internal document circulated within General Motors showed more than eight million vehicles were actively supplying data through OnStar’s Smart Driver program as of 2022.

    While OnStar has maintained signing up to its Smart Driver service is voluntary, Mr Chicco’s proposed class action claims he never voluntarily agreed to have his driving data recorded and distributed.

    “GM’s OnStar Smart Driver service is optional to customers,” a spokesperson told the publication earlier this month.

    “Customer benefits include learning more about their safe driving behaviours or vehicle performance that, with their consent, may be used to obtain insurance quotes. Customers can also unenroll from Smart Driver at any time.”

    OnStar was planned to roll out in Australia through the new Holden Equinox in 2018, though this was later delayed to 2021. Holden’s closure on December 31, 2020 prevented the connected services system from being launched locally.

    While General Motors currently sells the Chevrolet Silverado pickup and Corvette sports car in Australia, OnStar isn’t offered in either vehicle.

    It’s not yet clear whether the upcoming relaunch of Cadillac or the arrival of the GMC Yukon will bring OnStar to the local market.

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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