Philip van der Wilt explores how insurance companies can work with connected operations to harness the power of data and incentivise safer driving

When it comes to driving for a living, nothing is more important than road safety. Which explains why fleets continue to invest considerable time and resources to protect their drivers and other road users. Despite this, recent UK government statistics revealed that road collisions involving deaths and serious injuries caused by vans, trucks and buses have returned to pre-pandemic levels. This may go some way to explain why fleet managers are turning to modern technology and utilising real-time data to improve driver safety.

Creating safer roads through the use of technology

Dash cams have long been used to capture incidents on the road with the footage used to see exactly who is at fault. Today, though, those cameras can now be connected to the cloud to send footage directly to fleet managers so that, in the event of a collision, drivers can be exonerated on the spot. And more advanced AI dash cams can now be used to pre-empt accidents on the road by providing real-time in-vehicle alerts to drivers, warning them if they are speeding, tailgating or driving too aggressively.

connected insurance can incentivise safer driving

Dash cam technology provides pivotal insights in the event of a road incident

What’s more, all of this information can be used as part of ongoing fleet training initiatives to improve driver performance and safety, which can, in turn, lead to a reduction in accidents. As well as helping to protect drivers and other road users, a technology-focused emphasis on safety can also reduce costs.

Collaboration with insurance companies is key

With insurance costs making up a large proportion of setting up a fleet—not least because of the increase in road accidents—this same safety-focused technology and data can be used to reduce claims and, therefore, premiums. As fleets continue to progress and digitally transform their operations, they’re now able to work closely with insurance companies to better identify and reduce risk. Insurance providers typically price policies by looking at generalised data, such as historical data on where a vehicle is being driven and the typical number of road accidents that have taken place in that area over the last ten years.

The problem with this approach is that it creates a one-size-fits-all risk profile that punishes more safety-conscious fleets. That’s why fleet and insurance companies are now beginning to use the vast amounts of data being produced each day to provide an accurate and real-time risk profile. By using real-time telematics data, insurance companies can now provide premiums that truly reflect the road safety risk rather than relying on generalised historical data.

As fleets continue to progress and digitally transform their operations, they’re now able to work closely with insurance companies to better identify and reduce risk

The prospect of lower premiums helps to incentivise safer driving which, in turn, could lead to fewer accidents and incidents. As a result, more fleet managers are proactively working with drivers to improve safety scores and reward schemes.

As fleets become more connected and take advantage of new technologies providing insightful, real-time data, there’s a great opportunity for all stakeholders to promote safer, more sustainable driving practices. If companies continue to work more closely with insurers and technology platforms to improve road safety, all the evidence suggests that it could lead to safer roads. And that has to be in the interest of everyone.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Philip van der Wilt is Vice President, EMEA, Samsara

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