MyDrive Solutions and Irish broker Autoline unveil new product

MyDrive Richard Jelbert

Telematics provider MyDriveSolutions has launched the first UK telematics insurance product that uses a smartphone app rather than a traditional ‘black box’ to judge driving.

The app will be broked through Northern Irish broker Autoline to drivers in the UK.

It is aimed at young drivers, but is available for all ages. The app for android phones has launched now, and will be rolled out to iPhones and Blackberrys this summer.

An Autoline spokesman refused to name the panel underwriters, but added: “We have a number of insurers already on board and are in the final stages of negotiation with some others.

“At this stage we are not in a position to announce the Autoline telematics panel, suffice to say that most of the main composites will feature in the final line up.”

Until now, no insurers wanted to underwrite app-based telematics over concerns about reliability and fraud.

However, MyDriveSolutions director of technology Richard Jelbert said this app would work in practice because it only needed the phone to record GPS signals, rather than using other technology such as an accelerometer. MyDrive will then use computer modelling to work out the rest of the driving information, such as speed and braking intensity.

Jelbert said the app can also tell if the policyholder is being deceitful.

He said: “Our answer to those who don’t seem to use it is a metric that we’ve developed called Life Sense. This looks at the patterns of usage of the app, and records how reliably and consistently the phone’s been used. If your score was very low, indicating you haven’t been using the application reliably, and you had an accident, then the insurer would have the right to increase the excess.”

The app records driving information at one-second intervals and sends it back to a central server that builds up a profile of driving behaviour, allowing insurers to set premiums accordingly.

Jelbert added: “We’ve made it as hands-off as possible, you put the phone into a cradle and the action of plugging in the charger triggers our app and it starts recording GPS data. When you get to where you’re going, unplugging the phone triggers the app to package up the data and send it off for analysis.”

This allows drivers to build up a driver score which Autoline send to their panel insurers for underwriting.

Autoline managing director Michael Blaney said: “We looked at a black box system to monitor driving last year but the cost of installation outweighed the benefits. Working with insurance telematics specialist MyDrive Solutions, this new software has been developed for an android phone as research shows this is the type of phone most young people can afford.”