Mobile app data can solve insurance industry problems: TrueMotion CEO

UBI programs, claims and distracted driving could be positively impacted, says Ted Gramer

The insurance industry has a mobile app problem, which is unfortunate because apps may be the solution to less costly usage-based insurance programs and reduced distracted driving rates, suggested the CEO of TrueMotion at last week’s Insurance Analytics Canada Summit in Toronto.

“The challenge for us as an industry is how to make the value proposition compelling enough so that consumers actually want your app on their phone,” said Ted Gramer. “The insurance industry hasn’t done a great job of that. Most companies have very low app penetration because the services that are on there aren’t interesting.”

But the potential is great that data retrieved from a mobile app can help the industry.

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For instance, mobile devices and data can help simplify UBI programs for both insurers and customers. As opposed to mailing customers a costly piece of hardware that has to be attached to a vehicle, customers could download the proper technology onto their smartphone, said the CEO of the UBI-focused tech company.

The result would be a less expensive program for insurers to implement and an improved experience for the customer, he added.

And information available through a customer’s mobile app could lead to a more efficient claims process. Instead of having a call centre operator talking to a policyholder after an accident, the insurer could access data telling it whether airbags were deployed, the speed of the car, the driver’s immediate actions following the accident, etc., said Gramer.

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The availability of this “extremely valuable information” will simplify the claims process and “really almost write the payment for small claims based on that type of experience,” he explained.

Mobile applications can also be the key to reducing a problem that they helped create – distracted driving.

Gramer’s company produces Mojo, which tracks users’ driving habits and scores them on their level of distraction-free driving. Users are rewarded for high scores.

“With very basic behavioural science and personalization at this level, we’ve taken distraction down by 20%,” said Gramer.

Related: Record amount of distracted driving tickets for Saskatchewan

The turn to personalized data can also help insurers target the drivers that are causing premiums to increase. Insurers could access information that tells them when a customer has picked up their phone while driving and the specific activity they engaged in through the device. This could lead to the setting of personalized insurance rates based on which customers are having the biggest impact on insurers’ loss trends, said Gramer.

“Because texting is eight times higher [of a] risk than poor driving and Bluetooth might be two [times the risk] so we can actually build loss trends from a really granular level,” he explained.


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