Right about now, Cleveland, Ohio resident Michael Beard is thanking his lucky stars, not to mention the Progressive Casualty Insurance Co.’s data-collecting Snapshot device, for his freedom.
He had no way of knowing that the data collected by that monitoring device would help clear him of murdering his seven-month-old daughter.
The Snapshot device helped him convince a jury that he wasn’t guilty of the 2011 suffocation death of his daughter, Lynniah. Had he been convicted, the 28-year-old man could have spent the rest of his life in prison.
But the insurance company data and some good, old-fashioned data analysis saved him.
Initially, Beard decided to take part in the usage-based insurance program to show Progressive that he’s a safe driver, which would have allowed him to take advantage of discounts on his premiums.
The device, which plugs into a car’s diagnostic port, automatically collects certain data, including daily mileage, how often a driver slams on the brakes, and the times the driver is using the vehicle.
At Beard’s trial in June, prosecutors told the court that Beard suffocated the baby, who was asleep in her infant swing, at 4:45 a.m. on May 8, 2011 while her mother was also sleeping. Beard, a state-trained nursing aide, was not living with the woman but he often visited his daughter and her mother after he got off working the graveyard shift.
However, a pathologist told the court that Lynniah could have slumped down in her swing while she was sleeping and slowly suffocated.
To bolster that claim, Beard’s attorney then presented the data from Progressive’s usage-based insurance device showing that the man had arrived at the woman’s home at 4:44 a.m. and turned off his car. He then turned it on again at 4:47 a.m.
It was during those three minutes that Beard discovered his daughter wasn’t breathing, grabbed her out of her swing, and rushed back to his car to take her to the hospital.
The jury believed Beard’s account of that tragic night, in part, because of the data collected from Progressive’s usage-based insurance device. And after four days of testimony, jury members deliberated just one hour before finding him not guilty.
Beard’s attorney said it was the first time the insurance company’s Snapshot device had been used in a criminal trial.
I’m thinking that’s a pretty darn good use of data analysis.
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Spotfire Blogging Team