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  • Writer's pictureG Werner

The Truth Behind Changing Driving Behaviors

I first got interested in telematics knowing it would be a great actuarial pricing tool. I initially started by trying telematics solutions available in the market. Fortunately for me (but not for my son), I had a 16-year-old to use as a guinea pig and installed a comprehensive commercial fleet product in his vehicle. When I saw how effective it was at changing his behaviors, I went from being an interested actuary to a passionate advocate for telematics.

10 years later, I am disheartened by the lack of progress personal lines insurers have made with regards to improving driving of participating customers. Too often, insurers have settled on basic usage-based insurance (UBI) products that simply collect basic data for a limited amount of time for the sole purpose of determining a “better” rate. Insurers are really missing an opportunity to reduce their losses and make our roads safer.

To be fair, changing behaviors isn’t easy. If a company (insurer or otherwise) wants to build an effective behavior change program, it will be imperative that they do three things:

  1. Identify behaviors that cause accidents to happen rather than behaviors that are simply correlated with a higher chance of having an accident. Correlation is fine for pricing, but not for behavior change programs.

  2. Determine the best way to communicate in near real-time with information that is consumable by the driver. This is difficult for companies who have only interacted with customers every month or so for billing and policy reissuance.

  3. Provide meaningful incentives to encourage drivers to change. A premium discount isn’t enough to change everyone’s behavior.

Without all three of these elements, our industry will not realize the full potential.

If you are interested in implementing a behavior change program, please contact us at Werner Advisory LLC.


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