Telematics CEO Shares 5 Auto Insurance Trends to Watch in 2018

By Ted Gramer | January 10, 2018

Auto insurance is experiencing its most seismic shift since it began over 100 years ago. If 2017 shook up the industry with an increasing number of carriers adopting mobile telematics programs for UBI, 2018 will break the mold.

Carriers will use data to put the customer front and center, focused on creating delightful experiences. UBI 2.0 will enable carriers to create these experiences by leveraging data in unprecedented ways and a new data-driven claims experience will begin to evolve. The hype around the connected car will continue to be just that – hype. And consumers, insurers, and regulators will introduce big new ideas to combat tragic distracted driving trends.

Here’s how we see 2018 unfolding:

  1. The customer will win. Low engagement, poor satisfaction and complicated processes will not survive in the $200 billion U.S. auto insurance market. Consumers have come to expect delightful experiences like they have with Amazon, Google and Apple, and they benchmark all company experiences against them. Auto insurance is no exception. Either incumbents will figure it out or new entrants will. In 2018, we’ll see the battle heat up with a focus on the customer experience.
  2. Expect UBI 2.0. The results are in: Driving data is highly predictive, mobile telematics has reduced the barriers to entry, consumers are signing up, and the carriers that started early are winning. Expect carriers to leverage driving data in new and innovative ways that go broader than just price targeting high-value segments. This will include levels of personalization not possible before, using mobile channels to drive customer engagement and loyalty. Carriers that have fallen behind will scramble to catch up.
  3. A massive opportunity in claims will fully emerge. After decades of claims functioning as the old school, back office part of the business, carriers are seeing the potential for game-changing impact on the customer experience, expenses and loss costs. In five years, claims will look nothing like it does today. The mosaic will be filled in beginning in 2018.
  4. The hype around connected cars and autonomous vehicles will continue. The key word being hype. The ugly math is that it will still be at least 15 years until connected cars penetrate half the U.S. vehicle fleet. Level 5 autonomy will take even longer. Unfortunately, the auto insurance deck will likely be reshuffled before then. To prepare for the transition, carriers will look to smartphone data to help – it delivers over 70 percent of connected car data, plus distracted driving data. Smartphones also provide new engagement opportunities. And, carriers don’t have to wait – more than 85 percent of drivers own one today.
  5. Outrage with distraction will reach a peak. After more than 3,400 thousand lives lost in 2015 alone and countless accidents as a result of smartphone use in cars, consumers, regulators and insurers will step up their game. Laws have generated short-term effects and general awareness campaigns have produced limited results. Smartphone-based efforts, however, have proven to reduce distracted driving by 20 percent. States will also review how they’re collecting and reporting distracted driving data, which has been significantly underreported to date. Expect some big new ideas that tilt the curve.

Ted Gramer is CEO of TrueMotion, a mobile telematics company based in Boston. The firm’s technology uses smartphone sensors to score drivers’ overall driving habits, including distracted driving.Prior to joining TrueMotion, Gramer spent more than a decade with Liberty Mutual Insurance in a variety of executive leadership positions, including executive vice president and chief claims officer and executive vice president of Liberty International.