On Jan. 27, 2011, PR Newswire issued a report from an Allstate Insurance press release on zodiac signs and accident rates which led many news agencies to interpret the data that people born under certain astrological signs have fewer or more auto accidents. The buzz was; “Your zodiac sign tells insurance companies if you are a good risk or not.”
What Allstate and the entire media failed to do was analyze the data sitting before them. Since Allstate now used the new, revised zodiac calendar which includes a new 13th sign, “Ophiuchus,” the number of days within each zodiac sign also changed. Scorpio, for instance, now only has six days, while Virgo has 45 days.
What Allstate did was take the aggregate Number of Driver Accidents whose birth dates fall on each zodiac sign and then made claims that the best drivers (or those with the fewest accidents) are the ones with the fewest accidents within their zodiac dates, and so on down the zodiac list.
According to the PR Newswire – Allstate release, it stated that: “Over the past year, Virgos were nearly 700 percent more likely to be in a car accident when compared to the determined and aware Scorpio, the best drivers in the study. Perhaps a Virgo’s shy, perfectionist nature leads to overly cautious and timid driving habits. By contrast, Scorpios were only involved in 1.5 percent of all accidents in 2010.”
From this data, Allstate extrapolated all sorts of incorrect information about their clients.
If Allstate had looked more carefully at their own data they would have found that they needed to divide the Number of Driver Accidents by the number of days in the new zodiac calendar to arrive at an “apples-to-apples” comparison.
The photo shown here is my re-calculation of how their data should have looked by including the number of days in each zodiac sign.
When re-calculated like this, Aries comes out on top and Cancer on the bottom, but most importantly the difference between the “safest drivers and the worst” is a mere 17.8 percent, not the 700 percent Allstate claims between the two extremes in their report.
The ACCIDENTS PER DAY in each sign is relatively close to one another and, in statistical terms, the difference is so nominal as to be irrelevant.
This mess-up has several bottom-lines:
1. According to a Fox News report of a national poll conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation shows about 25 percent of Americans believe in astrology. That’s about 4 million Allstate customers. What’s next for Allstate? Comparing Jewish drivers to Christians, or blacks to whites? Allstate is a publicly owned company and has a moral obligation to be sensitive to reports it issues. Why cause unnecessary grief to their clients and others?
2. And when Allstate does issue reports they should have another set of “clean, new eyes” examine the report for accuracy. Many Virgos are probably upset with the report, as well they should be. According to Allstate Insurance. “Virgos, known to be critical, meticulous and reserved, are also more likely to get into a car accident.” This is just plain stupid analysis on the part of Allstate. Their PR person ought to be fired for crap like this, and their CEO held accountable.
3. Two days after their original “zodiac” press release, Allstate issued a damage control press release: “Allstate Corrects Misperceptions Zodiac Press Release May Have Created,” in which they clarify that being born under a certain zodiac sign, has “no role” in how they base their coverage. Apparently, Allstate thinks their customers will leave them thinking they are a greater risk to be insured because of their zodiac sign and their premiums will increase. Allstate still had not figured out that their zodiac numbers were totally out of whack. Interestingly enough, the original zodiac press release has been removed from the Allstate website.
4. The media should learn a lesson in this too. While most media outlets, i.e. TV and radio stations, newspapers and Internet news services gather the bulk of their news via press releases distributed by independent third-party content providers, it should still be up to the respective news station to screen information more carefully. True, there is a lot of news out there, but each station only runs for each broadcast only a handful of news items and they should have an obligation to viewers and readers that the news going out has been vetted…that is the cornerstone of good journalism. However, most media now have disclaimers on their websites, saying in so many words they are not responsible for “information contained on their websites.” This is lawyer crap and is just moving us closer to a closed society…poor Soros and his dream of an open society.
Just this week, another news story broke here in Florida about a piano which mysteriously appeared on a sand bar off Miami. At first the local TV stations broke the news that a husband and wife photo team had placed the piano there for a world-wide photo shoot of pianos located in weird places. We only found out a week later that a group of teenagers placed the piano there as a prank. Moral of the story: If we cannot get accurate news from our professional media sources, then who?
In researching this report, I found many interesting facts about astrology which in fact has changed my sign.
The zodiac calendar starts on the spring equinox in March in the northern hemisphere, and in September in the southern hemisphere. All my life I thought I was a Libra, but, being born in Australia, I now find I am an Aries, and with Ophiuchus muddling up the celestial waters, I have no idea what sign I am any longer.
And since I was born at 8 a.m. local time in Australia on Oct. 10, it was still Oct. 9 in the States…so do I celebrate my real birthday on the 9th or the 10th? Being Australian, I celebrate both days with lots of drinking and partying, but this should have legal implications too since I live in the States now. I’ll check into this and get back to you.
In the meantime, in our new Internet age, when you see a news story, all free people who aspire to stay that way should read, study and share their wisdom . We are all the eyes, ears, and analysts of our new information age…it appears it is up to people reading the news to make sure it is correct and accurate.
PR Newswire, What Does Your Zodiac Sign Say About Your Driving?, Allstate Press Release.
Fox News Polls, More Believe In God Than In Heaven, By Dana Blanton.
Allstate Newsroom, Allstate Corrects Misperceptions Zodiac Press Release May Have Created, Laura Strykowski, Allstate.
Valleynewslive.com, Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.
Soros, Open Society Foundations, About the Open Society George Soros.