Wunelli to explore usage-based auto insurance with EE

Telematics specialist Wunelli has teamed up with UK network operator EE to explore how M2M might be used to establish driving and vehicle usage patterns.

The ultimate aim is to ensure that UK drivers have instant, free access to a validated score for their driving behavior, without having to download an app and without insurers incurring high costs for data acquisition.

Telematics specialist Wunelli has teamed up with UK network operator EE to explore how M2M might be used to establish driving and vehicle usage patterns.

The ultimate aim is to ensure that UK drivers have instant, free access to a validated score for their driving behavior, without having to download an app and without insurers incurring high costs for data acquisition.

Wunelli (Portsmouth, UK) says the partnership with EE (Hatfield, UK) could help bring usage-based insurance services into the mainstream at a time when insurers are beginning to embrace the idea of using smartphone technology to collect driving behavior, and as increasing numbers of drivers are downloading apps in order to provide a validated score to insurers.

The two companies are to look into ways of producing a driving score from the M2M Cloud – the depository for location information.

If proven, the concept could open up the potential for drivers to request their ‘Driving DNA’ and provide this to insurers to ensure quotations are tailored to their driving behavior.

That could help to lower the high costs of data acquisition for insurers and brokers.

“Essentially, via cellphone tower triangulation: time, location and velocity of any phone can be estimated. If a series of locations are accurate and appear on a road surface Wunelli know how to turn this into Driving DNA,” said Paul Stacy, the research and development director of Wunelli. “We hope to use the information in ‘the cloud’ to deliver a score to drivers and provide an immediate indication of their driving behaviour, if requested. Subject to their consent the score could be communicated to their insurer.”

Wunelli points out that the concept will never replace hardwired devices or other methods of data collection, like smartphone apps, and says each solution has benefits and pitfalls in terms of cost and data accuracy.

“This is just one of a number of research and development projects we have underway in UK and is one where a telematics data standard is an important component, which is why Wunelli called for standards to be introduced,” said Stacy. “This is all about developing an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of this ‘cloud’ approach and demonstrating how this new approach could benefit the industry – not just at policy inception and renewal but to manage claims too.”