Will 2011 be the year that telematics takes off in the UK?


Octo head of sales UK Andrea Natali

“We really believe this is going to be the year in the UK. The UK has been a little biased by the Aviva experiment a couple of years ago. They say: ‘If Aviva failed, how can we succeed?’ The UK market is very different from other countries; it is very competitive. We welcome Aviva coming back to this market, because it will cancel the bias that has been levelled against telematics in the past.

“Once the main players like Aviva, RSA and AXA start rolling out this kind of product, there’s a chance for telematics to become mainstream. There is a market now. The customer likes the proposition when it brings a discount on policies. They will start by focusing on young drivers, but we believe this will evolve and target other segments of the market.”


Halo Insurance Services chief executive Ernesto Suarez

“There’s a seismic shift and it’s consumers that really drive that. I feel like the technology is going to catch on eventually, but it takes about 18-36 months to really develop a proper telematics operation.

The enthusiasts say everything is going to happen now, but it will take six to 10 years to develop.

“This is probably one of the things that is going to drive power back to the insurer. From a loyalty perspective, it is exactly what an insurer wants. It is going to require a new breed of underwriter. You are going to see more actuarial type people coming into the roles. Telematics is going to move really quickly once it gets going.”


Insurethebox joint chief executive Andy Haynes

“Is this the year? It could be. Commercially, you can put together a proposition that is beneficial to both the customer and insurer.

I think the early offerings could have been construed as more geared towards the insurer than the customer.

“I know many people think it is the year that the breakthrough will happen. We see this as the future of car insurance.

“Maybe the real change will come in three years when we will see mass adoption. We set up in 2009 and started trading in 2010. Our frustration is that a number of the players who are now going to go live with a solution are the very people we spoke to back then that told us it wouldn’t work.”


AA Insurance director Simon Douglas

“I think it’ll take a little bit of time, but as the reality of the gender directive comes closer, it will start taking off.

“Insurers will be starting to modify their premium structure. It will favour female drivers because it’s almost a proxy for gender, but it will also certainly favour male drivers that are risk-averse and prepared to modify their driving style.

“One of the problems [with telematics] in the past was that the margins were so tiny that you needed a large volume in order to justify doing it, and the volumes weren’t there. Since then, the equipment used has become more sophisticated and the cost has fallen. I believe the concept is also becoming more acceptable to potential users.”