Volkswagen has announced that is buying the remainder of diconium, as it seeks to become the gatekeeper for the data which flows through modern cars of the 21st century. This might sound like pretty humdrum news to most of us, but for insurers, there is good reason to take note of developments like this. If car manufacturers can communicate directly with car renters/owners on all online services, that could mean a special deal, or range of offers being sent to drivers via the car’s dashboard interface.
VW says that the deal `includes the development of a global online sales platform which will allow customers of all Group brands to purchase and manage digital services and on demand functions for their fully connected vehicles in the future. For this purpose, diconium will be contributing its key know-how to the Car.Software organisation of the Volkswagen Group, which is responsible for developing software for the vehicle, digital ecosystems and customer-oriented functions for sales across the Group brands. The completion of the transaction is still subject to approval by the anti-trust authorities.’
What does mean in the everyday world? The in-car functions will include media streaming in the car, automatic payment for refueling, battery charging and parking, as well as manufacturer updates for the vehicle, like recalls, or service reminders for example. In addition, the online sales platform will be linked to the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud, which is also being developed by the Car.Software organisation.
“The Volkswagen Group is committed to offering our customers a steadily growing range of innovative digital added value services which they can use conveniently and safely both directly in their cars and via their mobile devices,” says Christian Senger, Volkswagen brand Board Member responsible for Digital Car & Services and CEO of the Car.Software organisation.
“The technological basis will be the uniform online sales platform which we are developing for all our brands within the Car.Software organisation. The proven expert knowledge, experience and digital culture of our colleagues from diconium will give us a significant boost in this area.”
Insurance Edge Comment;
In theory, a car maker could offer PAYG insurance, based on the data collated from the driver(s) of the car, location parked overnight, regular commuting routes, average speeds etc. In addition an insurance partner could see from the movies, TV shows or browsing history of the car occupants what other insurance products they might need, with their GDPR compliant consent of course.
The potential for offering insurance as a kind of Just Eat product; on-demand and tweaked/customised to the driver’s lifestyle, is definitely there. It’s going to be interesting to see which insurers can play Build-a-Bear with regards to policy features, shared driving, breakdown and claims handling, all sold directly via a manufacturer interface, and debited as one monthly payment, based on car usage, or added on top of the £350pm lease package as a fixed payment over 12/24/36 months.