Earlier this month the Insurance Research Council published a new paper on telematics and their impact on the insured party. They worked with over 1,000 drivers to establish whether the use of a black box in a car had any impact on their driving and on road behaviour.
What Did They Find?
- More than 1/3 of drivers reported that they had altered their driving behaviour to a small extent after having the black box installed
- Nearly 20% of drivers reported that they’d made major changes to their driving behaviour after using a telematics device from their insurer
In total 54% of drivers said that they had changed the way that they drive because of telematics from the insurer.
The survey also discovered that more than 4 out of 5 drivers had been given information by the insurers to help improve their driving behaviour and that 81% of those drivers had read that information. Of those that read the information nearly 90% said that they found the information useful.
What Does This Mean?
We’re a little sceptical of survey data when it comes to reporting improvements in behaviour. We know, for example, that when people who are dieting are asked to record what they eat in a day – they significantly under-report their consumption. This may be because participants want to fool themselves or it may be that they don’t accurately record data because they forget about it. However, it is a good indication that self-reporting is not a very accurate way to assess the impact of a change in behaviour.
What it probably does mean is that telematics is getting some drivers to think about their driving habits more closely and that some drivers are making changes to their driving because of the technology. As the Insurance Research Council concludes; it is difficult to make any hard conclusions as to how effective these changes are and whether they are sustained or whether they only occur for a short period of time following contact from an insurer.
The data can certainly be seen as a positive indicator that telematics is getting people to consider how they drive but it will take hard and fast evidence from insurers (based on assessments of claims made by similar groups of risk profiles both with and without telematics) before we can be confident that telematics is having any meaningful benefits in terms of the way people drive today.