It previously specialised in the older driver market who were subject to higher premiums

Smartdriverclub is expanding its underwriting offering to the younger driver market in a bid to become a more comprehensive telematics insurance broker.

This will be available to younger drivers over 18 years of age.

The broker claims to offer an insurance package with benefits through offering rewards such as discounts for good driving behaviour.

Its chief executive, Penny Searles, told Insurance Times that by using telematics data she can identify high-risk drivers within 14 days.

“But in the beginning, it’s hard to differentiate in price as there is no driving data,” she said.

Penny Searles - Smartdriverclub

Penny Searles, chief executive at Smart Driver Club


Searles uses Smartplug which is a telematics data device that the consumer can fit themselves to the OBD port in their cars and use straight away.

The device links to the Smartdriverclub app which logs every single journey made, monitors driving behaviour and then attributes a score which in turn promotes positive driving through the application of discounts.

It also acts as a tracker should the car be stolen pinpointing its exact location, moreover drivers can keep abreast of where they have parked using the “where’s my car feature?”

She pointed out that 75% of its consumers use this feature once a week.

This driving data can then be fed back to insurers that it works with in partnership. It is one of the ways that Smartdriverclub differentiates itself.

But as each journey is logged it can also be used as evidence when claiming back expenses from an employer.


Searles still maintains that “the broker space is challenging, as the UK market is incredibly price-driven.”

Having founded one of the very first telematics brokers in the country – Coverbox, almost a decade ago, she’s a dab hand at it.

This was later sold to a private consortium based in Peterborough.

But her and the team have extensive knowledge in the field and after launching several products with other insurers they decided to do it themselves.

Smart Driver Club launched three years ago and Searles claims to offer something a little more.


She continued: “If we can offer consumers something different by incentivising good driving, we can then show insurers a lower loss ratio using telematics.”

Searles proactively uses telematics to reward good drivers with discounts, encourage positive behaviour and sift out bad drivers.

Bad drivers are given seven days’ notice to improve and their behaviour and if this is not reflected in the data their policy is cancelled.

But she said that overall the use of telematics also shows that driving behaviour does improve - “my insurers know I bring in good customers, so I get good prices,” she said.

“We have seen that over last 12 months a lot of customers are becoming better drivers and moving towards the green band as they know they can get discounts,” she added.

She also highlighted that driving behaviour can vary due to age, vehicle, familiarity with journey and location – the type of roads and amount of congestion has an effect.

“But there are all sorts of factors that go into the scoring algorithms.”


Broking needs fixing

But Searles’ fear is that broking will die out. She continued: “Slowly but surely lots of brokers are giving up as not a lot of money is to be made.

“In year two we do not have to pay the aggregator or device cost so we make a profit, but retention is everything – we hope that we have given customers a good enough service that they will remain with us.

“The regulator encourages brokers to tell customers to shop around for quotes, if brokers cannot retain customers they might as well give up.

“I understand the reason for shopping around as new customers get cheaper prices, but the risk is eventually we will all have to put our prices up in year one as brokers will never make a profit.”

Smartdriverclub originally specialised in the older driver market. Searles said that these customers are getting to 60 or 70 and finding that their premiums are going up, but using telematics they have evidence of their good driving, which they can then use to get discounts off their policy at renewal.