Telematics Conference in Toronto Steers for Answers

Speakers discuss regulatory landscape, consumer concerns

Insurers and brokers are debating data and sifting solutions at the two-day Insurance Telematics Canada conference in Toronto… with consumer worries and the regulatory framework uppermost in their mind.

Just explaining to older customers what UBI is and how it works will prove an interesting challenge, especially in a landscape where we all know what happened to Target’s customer data and the latest breach of major websites hits the nightly news.

Read: Telematics technology is changing the landscape for personal auto insurance–and it’s only the beginning

Bruce Green, Senior Manager of Rates and Classification at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, notes that his regulatory body hasn’t taken a formal position on just who owns the information because the whole issue has contractual implications involving third-party data firms.

“It’s not their data, and we need to make sure that insurance companies interacting with them understand that.”

“I think it’s sufficient to say that our position is UBI data is personal information,” says Green, “then the data is the consumer’s.”

That raises the interesting question—which is very much on the mind of some of the conference delegates—of the portability of that data. Can a car owner transfer it to another insurer?

Read: Google to Build Driverless Car Prototype with No Steering Wheel

Green says from a regulatory perspective, “you can talk about it on a theoretical level all you want.”  Things get serious when insurance firms finally come to FSCO with their UBI model.  Green doesn’t speculate on whether that means a consumer will be able to pick up the phone and insist on getting their GPS data for such-and-such a time on a specific day.  “We haven’t required companies to track that kind of information, and yet on some level, it’s got to be available in order to calculate the discount if that’s a relevant data element.”

At this point, it’s early days across Canada for UBI, while the UK and Europe are already years ahead on telematics and regulatory policies. FSCO, says Green, wants the insurance company to be transparent to the consumer.  “What exactly are you collecting?  Because let’s face it, the devices capture a lot more than insurance companies are using for rating purposes.  My shop has honed in exclusively on what are you using for rating purposes, and almost no insurance companies have filed GPS data as a rating element.  So can a consumer get that information that I just mentioned?  Probably not or at least we haven’t required companies to track that and provide it, but if you’re tracking speed and time of day, you should be able to track the data elements for those.”

“I would say we’re committed to working with the industry to look for ways to make this work for the industry and consumer, but when it comes to what I care the most about, it’s the rate filing process… We’re not here to put up administrative barriers to getting approval either, but we are certainly engaged with the industry and telematics companies on talking about the filing requirements in Ontario and how can this work.”

Canadian Insurance Top Broker is the media sponsor for the conference.  

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