Wunelli chairman estimates 15% to 20% of motorists would buy policy in next two years

Wunelli’s plans to create an industry-wide standard for comparing telematics data have been criticised by Insurethebox chief executive Mike Brockman, who said that this could remove the competitive advantage from more advanced telematics players.

Last week Wunelli chairman Sandy Dunn urged insurers to agree standards of how information on drivers is collected, and invited insurers to sit down and talk about the issue.

Dunn said that the industry “must have certainty around the quality and security of data and agree common standards in the way data is collected to optimise the future benefits”. 

He predicted that 15% to 20% of motorists would buy a telematics policy in the next two years and added that unless the industry tackled the issue now, the reputation of telematics could be tarnished.

He said: “We need to be ready or we will face a whole host of challenges, not least the problem of cars being fitted with a different box every time the customer changes provider.”

However, Brockman said that the more advanced telematics propositions gave insurers and intermediaries a competitive advantage, and that a common standard could remove this.

He added that the telematics insurance industry was still too immature for these data standards to work.

He said: “The thing with telematics is, it’s anything but standard. It is impossible at this point in time to define what a standard is.

“If we have a standard now it will be completely redundant six months later.”

He said part of the problem is that it will be difficult to marry up the different telematics propositions on sale, which include several versions of the traditional ‘black box’ model as well as models that rely on smartphones.

“No one has come to speak to us, the whole industry has been talking about this from an angle of having no understanding at all,” he said.

“The whole thing to me is absolutely bizarre and quite unbelievable.”

Metaskil managing director Ian Faulkner agreed that telematics in the UK was still too undeveloped for information benchmarks, and added that forcing this could remove the competitive advantage of the more advanced telematics players.

He said: “I think in the short-term we do run the risk of coming down to the lowest common denominator.”

However, a common standard would benefit policyholders, he added.

Talking points

• Common telematics data standards would be helpful to consumers and to Wunelli, who are planning a telematics price comparison website with GoCompare, but can insurers ever agree on how this would work?

• The question of who owns the data coming from the telematics boxes is the elephant in the room with this sort of insurance, and will affect any common data standard. How can this be resolved?