Black box or telematics technology is a way for businesses to collect data on how their employees are using company vehicles. Using telematics, businesses can collect information such as whether drivers are speeding or driving dangerously, as well as how long they spend on the road. This is important, as research indicates driver fatigue is one of the main causes of road accidents.
According to the most recent Telematics Benchmark report, improved driver behaviour, peace of mind and regulatory benefits are some of main pluses to using telematics. The research found when drivers use telematics devices, businesses achieve peace of mind knowing where their vehicles are on the road and can also plot more efficient routes, leading to reduced costs such as lower fuel bills.
“Businesses collect the data and may provide it to some insurers, who then use it to make decisions on the policy and its conditions”
Importantly, data shows businesses that use telematics can improve the safe driving record of their vehicles. Mercurien Insurance specialises in providing insurance to businesses that use tools such as telematics to manage their fleet of vehicles. One of its clients, a not-for-profit organisation with a vehicle fleet, saw speeding events per kilometre drop from 0.14 to 0.07 across two-and-a-half years. Additionally, at fault claims fell from just over 60 to just over 20 a year thanks to telematics.
As this shows, businesses that use telematics may experience a commensurate improvement in driver safety. As a result, some insurers look favourably on businesses that employ telematics in their vehicles.
Businesses collect the data and may provide it to some insurers, who then use it to make decisions on the policy and its conditions. Insurers may approve more favourable policies, including more cost-effective premiums, based on data showing better driver safety.
Michael White, Steadfast’s broker technical manager, explains telematics may be used by businesses to better manage how their fleets are operated and to also provide this information to their insurer.
“In the case of heavy motor vehicles, telematics can provide information on how the vehicle is being driven, speeds, how brakes are used and whether drivers comply with road rules,” he says.
Zurich Motor Fleet Underwriting and Risk Engineering is one insurer that has a telematics-based insurance policy. Zurich Fleet Intelligence (ZFI) uses telematics data gathered from its policyholders’ vehicles through black box technology. Subsequently, Zurich uses this information when assessing insurance policy applications and claims.
Often, Zurich’s clients already have devices in place in vehicles so they can monitor vehicles for logistics purposes. ZFI is able to draw on this data to assess how individual drivers behave when they are on the road. The technology also provides information to drivers about their driving performance, online and in real time.
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