TECHNOLOGY AND CAR INSURANCE
You’re probably familiar with the many ways technology is changing how you drive – whether it’s driver assist technology helping you make decisions behind the wheel, built-in cameras giving you a 360-degree view of the road, or energy-efficient advances helping you spend less on gas. But new technology isn’t just changing the way you drive, it’s also changing the way you’re insured. Read on to learn about three advances in technology that are revolutionizing the auto insurance industry.
What if you could prove to your insurance company that you are a safe driver – and reduce your premium as a result? That’s exactly what insurers are offering with Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) plans. Under this type of plan, drivers install a telematics device in their car to record information about their habits behind the wheel. In return for their data, drivers qualify for a small discount to their premium upon signing up for a UBI plan, and a potentially larger discount when they renew – depending on their habits. If you’re hesitant to share this much information with your insurance company, read these news stories:
- One insurer reports that 70 percent of drivers with this type of plan earn some kind of discount.
- A study by the University of British Columbia showed that real-time driving feedback resulted in better habits for most participants.
Something to also be mindful of is that insurance companies are not allowed to use the information they collect to raise your premiums or deny you coverage – only to offer a discount.
Thanks to the internet, shopping for insurance is easier than ever. There are many sites online that will allow you to quickly compare multiple quotes from insurers so that you can find the best – and most affordable – plan. When it comes to servicing clients online, one company that is leveraging machine learning to raise the game is Kanetix Ltd.
Machine learning refers to a type of artificial intelligence in which computers are programmed to “learn” by themselves as they are exposed to more data and new experiences. In this case, Canadian firm Kanetix Ltd. partnered with Integrate.ai to offer customized buying experiences to their users. Leveraging their website’s deep pool of data, they were able to predict a customer’s likeliness to purchase insurance – and tailor the next steps of their buying experience based on the information. The result? A win-win scenario for Kanetix, which saw an increase in lead generation and marketing ROI, and their customers, who benefited from an improved online experience.
Experts have predicted that self-driving cars could save Canadians $65 billion a year in reduced fuel costs, fewer collisions and decreased congestion, making autonomous driving technology an exciting trend. Even self-driving cars, though, will require human co-drivers who are paying full attention, otherwise, they’ll still be susceptible to collisions – like in this case where a Tesla Model S that was in autopilot mode caused a fatal highway accident. So what does this mean for the auto insurance industry? Insurers will need to have policies in place to determine who is liable for an accident that involves an autonomous vehicle: the maker of the vehicle or the human driver. U.K. lawmakers have proposed a vehicle technology bill that suggests the manufacturer of a self-driving car could be liable in some instances, rather than the ‘driver.’ Under the bill, insurance companies would need to offer two types of insurance for autonomous cars: one to account for when the car is operating on its own, and one to provide coverage when the driver takes over.
For the most part, these trends are just emerging, so it’s impossible to say for certain what the car insurance industry will look like as technology advances. It’s safe to say, though, that as we change the way we drive, there will be many new opportunities and challenges for insurers in the future.