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TomTom tech to set driver insurance premiums

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By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 8 Feb 2012 at 14:16

TomTom has signed a deal with an insurance company to use its satnav technology to measure driving ability to set premiums.

The satnav specialist said it has teamed up with Motaquote on Fair Pay Insurance - a product that the companies claim rewards 'good' drivers with lower premiums, using technology to monitor driver behaviour.

"Our entry into the insurance market with our proven fleet management technology puts us at the forefront of a move that could help to revolutionise the motor insurance industry," said Thomas Schmidt, managing director of TomTom Business Solutions.

"We offer a navigation, traffic information and telematics which opens up great opportunities for insurance companies to promote greener, safer driving and create a ground breaking portfolio of new insurance products."

Companies can tell your performance and your performance will have a direct impact on the premium you pay

According to the companies, the service would provide users with cheaper quotes, but prices could be pushed up if driver logs show recklessness or dangerous driving.

"We've dispensed with generalisations and said to our customers, if you believe you're a good driver, we'll believe you and we'll even give you the benefit up front," said Nigel Lombard of Fair Pay Insurance.

“If you think of your insurance as your car's MPG - the better you drive, the longer your fuel will last. Good drivers get more for their money and in that sense they will pay ultimately less."

Drivers on the scheme will be given a TomTom PRO 3100 as part of the package, and the device will include Active Driver Feedback and LIVE Services to warn drivers when they were cornering too sharply or braking too hard.

The TomTom will also have a LINK tracking unit fitted in their vehicles, allowing driver behaviour and habits to be monitored.

Rise of driver data

Telemetry insurance goes back some seven years, but is expected to become more common due to new equality rules affecting the industry.

“This is not so dissimilar to other telemetry services and they will become more common following the European Court of Justice ruling on gender,” said a spokesperson for the AA, which also plans to launch its own telemetry based service shortly.

The ECJ ruling said it was unfair to charge men more for insurance than women – as is often the case, with women paying as much as 40% less – and has forced a rethink on pricing.

From December, insurance companies will be barred from basing premiums on gender and are looking for other ways to group drivers according to risk.

According to the AA, telemetric premiums will grow in popularity because people are less concerned about Big Brother-style monitoring than they used to be.

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User comments

Sinister....

I really don't like the sound of this. However full-time monitoring and possibly control of our driving is coming rapidly closer, whatever I think!

Of course anyone who uses TomTom's 'Live' service (that would be me) is probably furnishing Big Brother (no not C5) with all this data anyway.

By wittgenfrog on 8 Feb 2012

What SatNav?

I probably need a SatNav for around 0.5% of my journies, so it wouldn't help much - I wouldn't have it stuck to the dashboard during normal driving, as it is too much of a distraction. I'd probably mute it and shove it in the glove box, out of the way - which probably means it would never get a signal anyway.

Also, what is with people who already have a SatNav built into their cars? They won't use it at all...

By big_D on 8 Feb 2012

I entirely predicted this back in 2008 on my blog http://goo.gl/o7xeH It's actually fantastic news that couldn't come soon enough. If you think it's sinister then you can buy elsewhere.

By wikichris on 9 Feb 2012

Complex analysis

It's equally possible to drive fast and be a great driver, the issue of skill is a difficult one to judge and I would imagine this is going to be used as a fairly blunt instrument.

It is presumably an unstoppable tide, and could be considered an invasion of privacy if it's used to track people.

How long before the Government look for ways to get legal access to the data and use it for realtime tracking of "peoples under investigation."

All that said, I driver slower these days, I'd like a free sat nav, and I dont care if I'm tracked as I'm not doing anything illegal.

Brave New World indeed.

By Gindylow on 9 Feb 2012

ROFL

Just another ploy to jack up insurance premiums "for our own good". The programme will be written by those wonderful people who have sorted the NHS computers out.

By linux1943 on 9 Feb 2012

Agreed with Gindylow. Driving slowly does not equal driving safely and it's hard to know what else they will monitor other than where and when they drove.

Until this system can monitor: was the driver holding a phone while driving, how close were they to the car in front, have they (ever) looked in their mirrors, do they use their indicators and lights when they should - it will be just a blunt instrument.

By halsteadk on 9 Feb 2012

Too complex? Excuse to jack up prices?

Then it won't work as a business and you have nothing to worry about. I'm as sceptical about the powers that be trying to get one over us, there may be a case of that in this, but ultimately this is where road safety needs to go.

By wikichris on 9 Feb 2012

You're all being tracked through your mobile phone anyway

so one more tracking method won't hurt, especially a voluntary one.

And if driving a bit slower separates me from the nutjobs who all think they are safe, and saves me some money, then I'm interested

By davids4kes on 10 Feb 2012

Speed ≠ Danger

I suspect the speed reduction drive (see what I did there?) is more about CO2 than safety. Having attended a police speed seminar, I continue to base my speed on the conditions rather than signs. Copper at the seminar recommended Roadcraft which I bought and read, but told me nothing more than I had already deduced from experience.

By dubiou on 13 Feb 2012

^ @DUBIOU

Yes exactly. There used to be such a thing as Advanced Driving Courses and Defensive Driving, which could be taken to "lower risk" and avail of cheaper insurance.

Experience, State of Mind and Prevailing local conditions account for so much with driving and making the correct decision in a heartbeat.

It's always the unexpected that bites you in tha rear where road use and accidents are concerned.

By Gindylow on 13 Feb 2012

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