The Co-operators introduces usage-based auto insurance coverage

Waterloo Region Record

GUELPH — The Co-operatorsis launching a “usage-based insurance” system that could give drivers special discounts if they agree to plug a device into their automobile that will track and wirelessly transmit information on their driving to the insurance firm.

The Guelph-based insurer announced Monday that it will launch its “en-route Auto System” in April, utilizing engineering from Waterloo-based Intelligent Mechatronic Techniques Inc.

Quebec-based Desjardins has a related program, named Ajusto, provided to clients, which includes individuals in Ontario. The Co-operators is the second insurance organization in Canada, and the first primarily based in Ontario, to offer usage-based insurance coverage.

Men and women who sign up get a little wireless device that plugs into a port in the steering column of their vehicles. In exchange for signing up, and agreeing to having their driving tracked they get an automated 5 per cent low cost on their insurance coverage.

If they prove to be good drivers over a time period of time, they are eligible for added special discounts of up to 25 per cent at auto renewal insurance time, mentioned The Co-operators. In the worst-situation situation, undesirable drivers might get rid of the low cost, but won’;t spend more than they normally would just simply because they signed up for the plan, stated Leonard Sharman, a spokesperson for the firm.

“There is a good deal of interest in it,” he explained. “There is a aggressive edge in getting a new and innovative system like this.”

Organizations in the United States and Europe have been supplying utilization-primarily based insurance coverage for some time. But it is comparatively new in Canada, even however Intelligent Mechatronic has been a leader in creating the technological innovation.

Otman Basir, the Waterloo firm’;s chief executive officer, explained his business is functioning with about 10 massive insurance coverage firms in the U.S. Far more insurers in Canada are coming on board, he explained. “We are operating with a variety of them and we count on much more of them to go public really quickly.”

Drivers who participate get accessibility to an online portal that will display them their driving behaviour in 4 classes sudden braking, speedy acceleration, distance travelled and late-night driving.

“You can see if you are hitting the brake also typically and if you have fewer than 5 stars, you can perform on adjusting your habits,” Sharman stated.

The method provides driving suggestions and can be set up to offer alerts to assist individuals turn out to be far better drivers, and help parents guide their youngsters in getting to be better drivers.

Because the technique exhibits in which a car was driven and when, privacy has been raised as a concern. Sharman stated insurers are necessary by regulation to be “really up front” in telling customers precisely what data is currently being collected and how it is used. The system is voluntary and “we comprehend that some people will not want to get us up on it,” he said.

Specific varieties of folks — mostly these who see themselves as outstanding drivers or people who will not drive a great deal — will be “extremely interested” since it will decrease their prices, he said. Families with young drivers who would like to see their insurance coverage prices come down will also want it, he extra.

“If you are male, from 19 to 25, you shell out greater premiums since that group tends to have much more accidents,” Sharman explained. “But now, simply because of the advances in engineering, we can have more personalized insurance coverage. We can get actual-time information from your own driving habits and have that translated into your premiums.”

The hope is that the information will lead to safer driving, and that, in flip, will drive down insurance coverage expenses, Sharman stated.

There is also an environmental aspect to the plan, he said. “You can log on and see the carbon footprint from your automobile and get your rating on idling and how swiftly you are accelerating, fuel consumption and other things.”

Basir said the technology will have a important impact on the insurance coverage marketplace. “The data can be utilized to create a very good knowing of the driver behaviour and in exchange, the driver can use that to handle the fiscal aspect of their insurance coverage,” he explained.

Much more critical, it aids folks turn into safer drivers, he stated. “So everyone is a winner with this technological innovation.”

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