The Irish Times has a story today about the incredibly high premiums being quoted for emigrants returning to Ireland after working and living abroad for some years. Despite having a trackable driver history in modern countries such as the USA, UK, EU nations, Australia and so on, the drivers are being treated as novices, and rated the same as 17 year olds.
The Irish Times reports that one driver was quoted 3-4000 euros, and `90 percent of insurance companies would not quote at all,’ after he had worked in Australia for five years. Brian Cotter from the USA married an Irish citizen was required to take an Ireland driving test and found himself completely uninsurable, despite having a US drivers licence for 25 years.
Another returnee found that a letter from RSA in Dubai confirming her No Claims Discount was not `in the right format’ for Irish insurers, and so she had to start with zero NCD.
But the new breed of insurers and brokers, offering PAYG and flexible car insurance via app should be able to use AI and big data to resolve these long standing problems within the car insurance sector. It is incredible that in 2018 any insurer still asks for a physical letter to be sent from a previous insurer, when blockchain can transfer millions of pounds within seconds, with banks and governments accepting the built-in levels of security and time-stamped transaction ID.
Data Sharing and Driver History Passports Are The Key
In 2013 Experian launched their UK-wide NCD database, which makes details such as the precise number of years a drivers has built up their No Claims available to brokers and intermediaries. In the USA new companies like Lemonade and Metromile are using AI to settle claims within seconds, and the way they are doing that is by closely tracking driver use, via smartphone app. As the data footprint left by drivers becomes easier to search, more insurers should be able to research driver history quickly and in some detail, especially when given the basic information by the customer, shopping for insurance cover.
This is a problem which will grow in an increasingly mobile world, where people re-locate to other countries for a variety of reasons. The solution is to use secure databases, with a driver `passport’ concept as the foundation stone. In the same way that users of Facebook or Twitter have the right to download a copy of the data held on them, car drivers should be able to download a copy of their driving/insurance history and email it to themselves. It really is that simple.
There is nothing stopping this process, except the lethargy within the insurance industry. Those who think that the situation will continue indefinitely will probably find that the EU, and other nation states will change the regulatory landscape in favour of the consumer sooner rather than later, if nothing is done to end the financial pain for responsible drivers who have done nothing wrong, except emigrate.