Traditionally the car insurance industry worked largely in the same way all over the world. Its business model was based on the tried and tested balance between predicting risk and settling claims. Success was so dependent on getting this balance right, that whenever insurance companies considered a customer to be even slightly riskier than others, that customer’s premium went up drastically.
Until recently, car insurers could only calculate risk by using traditional methods. This involved the calculation of indirect indicators such as age, driving history, the value of the car being insured, and even its capacity for speed.
Over the years mathematical risk modelling techniques have come a long way, but the basics of assessing future risks remain grounded on historical records and demographics. This means that historically, young, inexperienced drivers were often unfairly discriminated against by car insurance companies because they were automatically considered high risk.
But now, thanks to IoT technology, safe drivers – even first-time drivers – can benefit from lower insurance premiums, no matter their age, or driving experience. Insurance companies can now determine risk by analysing real-time, accurate data. With smart sensors or telematic devices installed in a customer’s car, they can monitor driving habits, and reward safe and careful drivers, regardless of their age, gender, or experience.
Whilst the sensors do not record geo-location – ensuring the customer’s privacy – they record data such as the car’s speed, distance travelled, rate of acceleration, and braking. All this is transmitted to the insurance company’s IoT platform via Melita’s LoRaWan or Narrowband (NB-IoT) network, enabling data-driven decisions and adjusting drivers’ premiums based on their driving style. The technology can also sound an audible warning if the driver is deemed to be accelerating or braking too hard.
In addition, there’s definitely something to be said about the psychological effects of knowing that your driving is being monitored and that your behaviour on the road could save you money on your next premium. It is therefore very likely that the technology is also likely to lead to better driving habits.
And when accidents do happen, as they always do, the recorded data can help to better determine fault. Rather than relying on often contradictory eyewitnesses and their recollections, having the speed and braking distance recorded by the sensors, provides almost indisputable proof of fault – or lack of.
Fleet managers have been among the very early adopters of this technology because not only does it reduce their costs, improves road safety, and encourages better driving, but also provides other invaluable information such as correct route observation by employees, and detecting the cause of recurring issues within a fleet.
The insurance industry had long been viewed as conservative and slow to adapt, but IoT technology has already provided significant incentives for the industry to embrace the disruption openly.
This IoT solution promises insurance companies to substantially reduce costs, increase clients, and improve relationships with customers and potential policyholders. In the long run and on a wider scale, it also aims at improving general road safety and stronger adherence to driving regulations. To learn more about how melita.io can help your business take advantage of the power of the Internet of Things, contact us