April 16, 2012

Telematics continues to exert a powerful fascination on the motor insurance sector. Gary Lineker is back all over Insurance Times this week touting Blackbox Ingenue or whatever it’s called, and everywhere you look cash-strapped teens are busy hooking their motors up to the worldwide data-gathering nexus.

In a blog contribution to Post Magazine, someone variously described as Jamie Taylor and Jamie Talyor, who is DWF’s counter fraud director, highlights some telematic lessons from the US. Underlining the power of the black box as an instrument, not simply of espionage, but of control, he reports how US product Teensurance notifies parents rather than drivers if the vehicle is speeding and allows parents set geographical limits beyond which teens may not travel without an alert going out to their parents. Better yet, another US product Teensafe includes an “audio and video device in the rear view mirror that records the driver and the road ahead” which clearly has potential for gathering some interesting footage out on Slowhand Row.

Mr Taylor/Talyor also has some fascinating facts on Telematics in history and around the world. Its potential benefits for vehicle insurance were first noted by “Nobel laureate William Vickery” [possibly better known as the Canadian economist William Vickrey] as early as 1968. Italy, France, the US, Israel, South Africa, Japan and Switzerland have all been using telematics for, like, ages already. Telematics is expected to be in use by around 90 million people by 2017.

Telematics has the world at its feet, it seems, although, Taylor/Talyor notes that “Issues around privacy, data ownership and the use of telematics data in court will all need to addressed and resolved on the basis of the legal, regulatory and political landscapes in this country.” Once that’s out of the way it should be pretty straightforward to corral all non-adopters in a driver sub-set marked deeply suspicious and insure them only on the most reassuringly punitive of terms.


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