By Paolo Ravicchio, Head of Insurance Business Unit Viasat S.p.A.
Telematics is profoundly changing the insurance market and the traditional business model of insurance companies, also and above all because it requires them to put themselves at the service of the customer. It undoubtedly is – in the opinion of operators from this sector and as well as others – the great protagonist of this new season. In addition to the essential risk containment goals, which insurance companies have understandably prioritized, the latter have in fact been looking once again at the “Black Box” technology as an extraordinary solution, able to enrich and differentiate their commercial offer, in order to captivate the interest and satisfaction of customers. This goal is not to be achieved only through discounts on the policy premium, but above all by offering high added value, highly innovative services. All of this becomes even more relevant in the road transport sector, where the need for efficiency and cost-effectiveness is even greater, and where the Black Box can be used at the same time, both by insurance companies as a tool to monitor behavior, habits and driving styles, and by the insured as a work tool to control, manage and protect their own vehicle or fleet. In this way, the interests of companies and end-customers converge, which facilitates the achievement of their respective objectives and a fairer and more sustainable sharing of costs (in proportion to the actual benefits received by each party). As a consequence, insurers and insured become allies when it comes to the effective and correct use of technology, and in using technology itself in order to find more responsible, careful and virtuous ways to operate their vehicles – which, in fact, should be considered a common purpose. In fact, it has been demonstrated that careful and prudent driving behavior not only results in a containment of insurance risk, but also reduces fuel consumption, wear and tear and vehicle maintenance costs – all factors which directly and immediately benefit the operator/owner of the vehicle. It is in the road transport and commercial vehicles sector, much more so than in others, that the perfect ecosystem can be created – one that does not regard telematics as an instrument for exclusive and dedicated use of a single part of the supply chain, but as an open and flexible platform, able to support the functionalities and fulfill the needs of the entire supply chain. All of this finds context in a logic of interoperability and portability that crosses the boundaries of the insurance sector, to the advantage of all actors and operators in the sector. As a consequence, the insurance market is experiencing great turmoil on this front. The leading companies are engaged in the task of remodeling their offers completely in terms of tariffs, policy contents and services offered. As it is already happening with cars, alternative premium calculation mechanisms are in fact being introduced for trucks as well, based on telematic driving indicators in addition to the traditional risk parameters. Moreover, insurance guarantees and coverage conditions can now be improved thanks to the contribution of telematics, which increases the security of vehicle and transported goods by reducing the risk of theft and robbery and by facilitating driver assistance and protection in case of accident, aggression or sudden illness. On top of it all, as we have already mentioned, high added value, special telematic functions and services for the monitoring and professional management of vehicles are being offered. Thus, insurance policies in the road transport sector are now more than just a remedy in case of accident: they become an extraordinary element of prevention, protection and service thanks to the contribution of telematics. That being the case, a question arises: does insurance 1.0 still make sense?