Motor insurance claims volumes took a nose-dive in 2020 due to the lock down instruction to stay home and 17m fewer drivers were due to hit the road for the festive break which may again translate to unusually low claims volumes for the time of year.
While this is good news for motor insurers, attitudes to car ownership and usage are changing and this will be increasingly evident in the volume and type of claims the market experiences in 2021 and beyond. I believe that truly understanding and responding to that change, however large or small it might be, can only come through driving data and the intelligent and timely use of that data during the First Notification of Loss process.
It has been well documented that a growing number of people are planning to work from home permanently, at least part of the week, creating a new wave of weekend drivers. A reluctance to travel on public transport combined with the convenience factor means an increased reliance on the car, particularly amongst older, more vulnerable drivers. At the same time, younger consumers are showing growing interest in vehicle ownership. According to EY’s 2020 Mobility Consumer Index, millennials are expected to lead a car ownership boom in the next 6 months across the globe, representing 45% of all first-time car owners.
It’s also worth considering the decline in new and used car sales. Fewer new cars on the road means fewer people will benefit in the short-term from the latest advances in-car safety technology. More broadly, it means older cars on the road for longer and with household budgets under pressure, corners might be cut on maintenance checks. That may mean lower repair costs but higher Personal Injury costs than otherwise might have been the case.
Of course it’s not just about the cost of claims, it’s the experience of the policyholder when they have an accident that can turn a loyal customer into a leaving customer or vice versa.
New driver or old, new car or banger – the hard truth is that while traditional motor insurance providers have done much to smooth FNOL, it is down to the customer to trigger that process. Insurance providers need to know exactly when, where and how their customer has been involved in an accident to offer immediate help and to expedite the claim.
Second by second driving data from a self-fit device in the car that talks to the driver in an accident and uses voice recognition to understand their response, makes that possible, triggering a smart FNOL process that puts the insurance provider on front of foot, almost from the moment of impact.
The power of Voice technology in telematics cannot be overstated. In an accident a crash alert kicks in and activates a voice command using Amazon Lex and Amazon Connect in the device. The real time interaction with the customer using the device’s inbuilt microphone and speakers means they can immediately confirm or deny the accident, reducing false alerts and putting insurers in much greater control.
The power of the technology makes it possible to identify exactly what has happened, establish if anyone is injured and need emergency services or need other services such as a hire car to get them home.
This type of response transforms the claims process for the customer and the insurance provider. It gives the insurance provider a whole range of detail – like a liability assessment, fault, g-force etc. and in the future as the camera is integrated, they will have video footage too. This cuts the claims investigation time, avoids lengthy disputes with third parties and helps stamp out fraud.
As car ownership and usage changes, motor insurance providers will need to adapt their propositions to remain competitive. As well as providing a way to mitigate risk and deliver more personalised insurance cover, next generation telematics technology will offer more control over claims processes and costs. 2020 might have provided a relief to the market but as traffic volumes start to recover in 2021, smart FNOL processes using real time Voice and driving data could provide a game-changer for the market and its customers.
By Mike Brockman, CEO of ThingCo