Despite low awareness of usage-based insurance facilitated by telematics, 27% of commercial fleet managers who know about the programs buy them
I’ve been advocating this for years. There are many reasons for the use of fleet management and standard reporting features (some with driver alerts) including harsh breaking, harsh cornering, speeding, length of time between breaks, load weight have been reported to drivers, safety officers and company management for years.
I’ve said for a long time that there is a multiple value proposition for insurance companies that can provide major benefits.
Insurance companies are companies are all about risk. When it comes to freight the risk is very high. It is not just about the truck, the driver and the contents, it is about consequences. It might be damage to the roading infrastructure, it might be hazardous chemicals that can damage the environment and of course there are third parties.
Just yesterday we had a fatal accident in New Zealand between a van and a tanker truck. 2 people died and 7 were injured. When there are incidents like this, it is much easier to unravel some of the details of what happened. How fast was the truck going (including vs the speed limit), when did they first apply the brakes and how did the electronic baffles in the tanker holds deploy. Were airbags activated and did they deploy. There is so much data available in fleet management systems today, it’s the road equivalent of a black box in a plane.
Drivers can be assessed individually and trained based on daily and weekly reports and companies can also be assessed on their commitment to improvement and of course green driving, harsh acceleration for example often results in that horrible black soot that fills the atmosphere.
Companies can then be offered reduced rates based on their reports and rewarded for sharing full results of their fleet management reports.
Of course these reports include location based data. This means that insurance companies not only have risk profiles on drivers and companies, but also on locations. They can identify which routes have higher risk than others and report that back to their customers.
Insurance companies have a great opportunity to participate in the training of road users and to reward those drivers and companies who drive more safely than others (including when the driver or vehicle in an accident situation was not at fault). By reinforcing the statistics and information back to their clients, they have the ability to make our roads much safer for everyone.
The focus would be on positive reinforcement and training and of course there are a world of side benefits. Greener driving helps our environment, fewer accidents means less injuries and deaths, improved economies where just in time business models can rely on their deliveries; and reduced congestion caused by road and lane closures due to accidents and incidents.
I haven’t even touched on the other industries mentioned in this report, like family vehicles, teenage drivers etc. I believe they will be served by other solutions, more likely low cost mobile apps, but the major benefits for insurance companies are in the freight industry because when things go wrong and trucks are involved, the subsequent financial and human costs tend to be far greater.
The point of the story is that these technologies are not just hardware and telemetry that goes into vehicles, its how it is used to encourage better and more consistent behavior.
Bottom line, this technology will save lives and reduce costs.