French insurance company, Allianz France, has given a boost to GPS provider Tom Tom’s burgeoning telematics industry, by naming it as the provider of choice for its new vehicle insurance package: Allianz Conduite Connectée (Alliance Drive Connected).
However, unlike some telematics providers, Tom Tom won’t be fitting customer vehicles with any big hardware or software packages, but will instead be developing and distributing an Allianz specific smartphone application which will handle the basics of insurer tracking. Users will have their driving monitored via GPS, so that Allianz knows where they go and whether they speed or not while doing so. It will also be able to track acceleration and braking thanks to the smartphone’s built in accelerometer, so if drivers are taking off from the lights too quickly, or hitting the brakes too hard, Allianz will know about it and can adjust their premium accordingly.
The only additional piece of equipment needed, is a small device that connects up to the car’s diagnostics port to send additional data to the smartphone, app providing more information on the vehicle and the user’s driving habits. It also adds a new safety feature, automatically alerting the insurer and emergency services in the case of an accident.
The small dongle can be self-installed by Allianz customers, as it just plugs straight in to the port – provided they have a relatively contemporary, applicable vehicle.
“As a world leader we are at the forefront of innovation and our aim was to bring new services to our clients that help them to be safe on the road,” said Delphine Asseraf, Head of Digital, Allianz France. “We have partnered with TomTom Telematics because it offers a market-leading technology platform with a proven track record for the highest standards of reliability and service.”
Of course Allianz has other reasons for wanting to keep an eye on its customers. With the growth of insurance fraud and the ensuing rise in cost of insurance premiums, it’s actually leading fewer young people from taking up driving and finding other solutions for travel, which means insurers like Allianz are taking big hits to their bottom line. To encourage drivers back – specifically younger ones – telematics offers a solution that works for everyone. Drivers get cheaper premiums – as long as they drive safely – and Allianz gets some customers back.
This is a tack being taken by a lot of insurers at the moment, as well as fleets and individuals, as it’s one of the few technologies that benefits everyone involved.
Thomas Schmidt, TomTom Telematics’ Managing Director, also wanted to make a statement, saying: “This new insurance solution demonstrates the opportunities for developing innovative smartphone apps using actionable vehicle data. Our system empowers motorists to improve their driving style, helping them to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, accidents and their carbon footprint.”
These are of course benefits that can be felt by fleet managers as much as individuals. Even environmental campaigners believe that telematics could be a great stop gap solution while the world waits with baited breath for the revolutionary green technollogy that will make cars and trucks less of a burden on our planet’s greenhouse gas levels.