Tracking large commercial vehicles is not new, but with the advent of big data and smarter devices it’s now possible to gather more data than ever and apply it for different purposes.
Telus Corp. recently partnered with Fleet Complete and Intact Insurance to develop a fleet-management insurance offering for the Canadian market: The telco’s existing Fleet Tracker customers could be eligible for a service that provides fleet owners with tools that not only manage commercial vehicles more effectively, but also encourages safer driving that could translate into savings on insurance.
Shawn Sanderson, vice-president of Internet of Things at Telus, said the company has been providing its Telus Fleet Tracker in collaboration with Fleet Complete since 2007, giving customers real-time information such as the location of every vehicle, idling times, vehicle speed, how the vehicles are being operated, and whether a vehicle requires preventative maintenance to avoid costly repairs.
In the meantime, IoT devices to monitor driver behaviour in personal use vehicles have started to get traction in the insurance business as a means to adjust rates, and now it’s starting to be looked at for commercial fleets, said Sanderson, adding the joint Telus/Fleet/Intact initiative is the first of its kind in Canada.
The actual insurance analysis is done on Intact’s end; Telus only provides Intact with raw data that’s specifically applicable to a customer’s insurance.
Intact entered the telematics space approximately a year-and-a-half ago, according to its director of commercial lines, Obaid Rahman. Initially its focus was gathering data from personal use vehicles, but when it began to look at commercial accounts, “we definitely saw there was opportunity here with all of the data we weren’t using today.”
Intact has some short-term and long-term goals for its partnership with Telus and Fleet, said Rahman. In the near term, it is focused on what data is relevant in predicting driver behavior, including time of day, hours on the road, braking and idling. All of this information is presented on a dashboard. “It gives you a view of each driver on each vehicle over a period of time,” he said. “By taking that data and putting it in dashboard we can tell who is good driver and bad driver.”
This is a shift for Intact, said Rahman, in that it can create a relative score for one person and compare performance against another, when historically, driving behaviour was judged by criteria such as the number of tickets or accidents a driver had accumulated. Now, based on the data accumulated, Intact’s commercial fleet customers can take the data and use it to improve a driver’s habits. From an insurance standpoint, incentive is reflected in pricing, he said. “We take the data and provide loss prevention services to the customer.”
Intact has a lot of data coming in. “We’re getting a direct feed of data which really is more than anything we’ve had in the past,” said Rahman. “Over the coming year, we will be able to build better predictive models, do better segmentation, and find relationships between variables.” It’s a long-term process that will happen over a number of years, he said.
The biggest challenge for Intact is to decipher what variables are relevant, but the skillsets the company requires haven’t really changed, said Rahman. “The insurance business has been based on data and statistics analysis for a long time. The expertise and capabilities we have are sufficient to deal with what we are getting.”
What’s different, he said, is an insurance company teaming up with a telecom company to provide a better insurance product. “It’s an exciting opportunity to see how much we can develop using outside technology and devices.”
Ultimately, it’s not just an insurance play for Intact and its customer, said Rahman. “It’s improving productivity and safety.”