The Telematics market is changing fast, as technology advances and offers companies the chance to deliver a more bespoke data service to the customer, whether it’s an insurer, broker or fleet manager. Insurance Edge caught up with Adam Gooch, Commercial Director at ITS Telematics Solutions, to find out more about their new offering and the ITS Hub designed to revolutionise the way driver data is managed.
IE: Let’s talk about the ITS hub concept; tell us a bit more about that
AG: The Hub is something that we have developed over the last two years and one reason is longevity for connected car data and where autonomous car technology is going. What the Hub allows us to do is take data from a variety of sources. In the insurance and Fleet spaces there are more telematics devices within vehicles now, so you need a method of collating everything and picking out exactly what you need to know.
The Hub allows us to take data from an existing device, push that data through our Hub and customise that information. So you have a range of channels and all sorts of options, including using the ITS platform as a channel.
IE: How does the fleet market differ from the wider car insurance market?
AG: The fleet market has a longer history as regards telematics and in many cases companies have been using telematics devices for much longer. So, they can push data to us here at ITS via the Hub and get much more value from it, without any extra costs as regards hardware. To give you one example of how flexible the ITS system is, we have one client in Italy who wants data from their devices to feed through the Hub, and then be made available via an API, so another third party user can easily see patterns of vehicle use or driver behaviour.
IE: One thing that’s changed in the recent past is the expansion of the gig economy, with lots of freelance delivery drivers, so that must be changing the telematics market too?
AG: Many delivery drivers are self-employed, or small businesses, and they have a real need to keep their premiums down. Knowing as much as possible about the time of day, speed, location etc. of the vehicle is a crucial part of the equation – and how it’s being driven of course.
IE: One thing we noticed at BIBA is that telematics is still often being sold as a young driver product. But there is a huge opportunity to help older drivers too, how can the industry do that better?
AG: Yes, there is still a perception that telematics is something for the under 22 years age group, but we are working with lots of brokers now who are targeting older drivers. It really comes down to the marketing of the product and selling the benefits of vehicle security, the assistance it can give you in the event of a crash, or points systems directly affecting your renewal price.
In one way, it’s a bit like the John Lewis retail approach; you don’t want to concentrate too much on being the cheapest, but instead offer the best all-round value. Yes, everyone paying say £1000 a year for car insurance wants to get it cheaper, but there are older drivers out there who value the car tracking data, the back-up in an emergency and other features that telematics offers.
IE: Recently, there was plenty of media coverage of the keyless entry vehicle thefts going on in the UK, is this an area where insurers and brokers can sell the security angle because someone who can afford a Jaguar, Audi or Range Rover can probably afford another method of tracking their vehicle too?
AG: It is the peace of mind that comes with telematics. If you own a luxury, or perhaps classic car, then that’s your pride and joy and you are probably keen to invest in protecting it. If you look at the data on stolen vehicle recovery then you see that cars with telematics are frequently located and returned to their owners very quickly. That’s one area where the brokers can push the message home, because it’s all about knowing exactly where your car is at any time of the day or night.
IE: Then there’s the driver coach aspect of modern telematics, like apps that congratulate you on a smooth drive, and adjust next month’s renewal cost for you as you drive.
AG: Again, I guess it’s getting consumers to think a bit more about value, rather than price. The ITS Driver Intervention Module is part of our Hub system. I don’t think it has to be just a discount on premiums, you could offer a range of shopping discounts for example, vouchers perhaps – it is still about offering a reward for a good driver score.
As regards the fleets, there is an important health and safety issue to consider. You may have a driver behind the wheel, or loading/unloading for eight hours a day, so there is a tiredness aspect to all this. What if a fleet has telematics, and they have the data that a driver isn’t driving well in the afternoons; breaking speed limits, or braking hard and so on. If you do nothing with that data, and the driver then has an accident, did you fail in your duty of care?
Your fleet driver may injure someone else on the road, or perhaps injure themselves, and the Health and Safety Executive would have a keen interest in what led up to that accident.
IE: So the fleet manager has a duty to intervene based on the driver data?
AG: Yes definitely, and the brokers and insurers are also doing much more of this coaching, based on driver lifestyle. The insurer doesn’t want to write a policy and then cancel it, but they would like to modify your behaviour and be the very best driver that you can be.
IE: How is ITS evolving that driver Intervention approach then?
AG: The future thinking for the ITS Hub is that over the next ten years or so, as the vehicle itself becomes the device, then we already have a system in place to ingest that data, and turn it all into actionable information, that both insurers and fleets can use. Car manufacturers and insurers can both benefit from this process, in terms of exporting a range of marketing data for example, because as people get used to autonomous cars, they are probably going to use their own internet enabled devices within the vehicle – that has a value too.
Again in fleets, our development of the ITS Hub offers more opportunities for them to do things like train new starters based on the data that has already been gathered. There’s more to it than just knowing where the load is, and how fast the driver is going. Things like fuel consumption patterns that vary between your best and worst drivers using the same route, or fraud prevention? Every fleet telematics offer leads back to the insurance, but there is a wealth of opportunity within the data as well.
IE: Adam thanks for your time.
This feature was produced in association with Insure Telematics Solutions.