Direct Line gets dedicated Trakm8 partner

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While much of yesterday was spent discussing the new Telematics Update report, that suggested in the future we won’t see much in the way of after-market telematics solutions, be it dedicated hardware or a simple mobile phone app, that’s in the far flung future when the cars of tomorrow, are being bought second hand by the general public. Today however, is certainly the time of the after-manufacture options, which is why insurance firm Direct Line has just announced the news that it’s partnering with Trakm8 to offer its customers the chance to bring down their insurance premiums.

The product that the two firms are putting out together, is called the Direct Line DrivePlus Plug-in device, which was co-developed by Trakm8 and British based telematics specialist, The Floow. The latter company implemented the analysis and feedback tools that would send the data through to Direct Line in an easy to read manner, while the former handled the sensor tech behind it all.

As Fleet News explains, this telematics system is part of Trakm8’s new generation of T10 devices, which uses CANbus communications and is installed in a very simple manner, by plugging straight into the vehicle’s diagnostic socket. This not only makes it a quick job, but gives the device much more information than your standard smartphone. While a mobile handset might have an accelerometer and GPS to tell the insurer where you’re going and how fast you get there, by plugging straight into the diagnostics port, the T8 is able to track the entire vehicle’s vital signs, giving it in-depth information on how fast you accelerate, how hard you brake and more.

John Watkins, Executive Chairman of Trakm8 said: “This is a key milestone for Trakm8, as Direct Line Group launches a step-change in telematics for UK consumers. This proposition accelerates the awareness of telematics as an effective tool to improve driving skills and reduce fuel costs. We look forward to building on this relationship further as consumers adopt the Plug-in device.”.

As part of the deal between the two firms, Trakm8 will provide as much as £1.2 million worth of telematics hardware for Direct Line customers, as well as providing support services going forward – though that will be paid for by the insurance firm and is expected to easily cover expenses. Direct Line is likely to save money by inking this deal however, as it will be able to stamp down on insurance fraud claims as the number of vehicles it insures featuring the hardware increases.

trackm8

It’s also likely to reduce overall payouts, since people driving with telematics tend to drive slower and more carefully, partly because they’re aware that they’re being monitored, but also because the insurer is likely to offer performance based incentives to those that choose to equip their vehicles with the tracking hardware.

The overall deal seems to have found approval with shareholders too, as Trakm8’s stocks rose when news of the deal was announced, jumping nine per cent at the end of the day’s trading. Ironically perhaps, Direct Line’s went down, by just under a per cent, but it did also announce an overall revenue drop from 1.01 billion, to 949.3 million year on year.

[Thanks LSE, Fleet News]

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.