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Canada Emerges as Fertile Ground for Telematics

Two new initiatives were announced this week in a market that already includes some major players.

While the popularity of usage-based insurance waxes and wanes in the United States, Canada is seeing a flurry of activity around the product.

CAA South Central Ontario has contracted with Quindell, a UK-based telematics provider, to provide its auto club members and insurance customers with telematics technology and services, including "both usage-based insurance and behavioral-based insurance solutions," according to a release. And, Intact Financial Corporation affiliates Intact Insurance and Belairdirect will launch a "telematics-based solution that will allow eligible good drivers in Quebec to save up to 25% on their annual auto insurance premiums based on driving behaviors," the company announced.

This follows news earlier this year that Ingenie, the well-regarded telematics-only insurer based in the UK, plans to enter the Canadian market, also in partnership with Quindell. In addition, Industrial Alliance's Mobiliz product won a Celent Model Insurer award earlier this year.

Quindell, which acquired a Canadian agent management vendor earlier this year, is bullish on the market's potential, according to a statement from founder and executive chairman Rob Terry. "This agreement… confirms our belief that the insurance market in Canada is going to exceed all our previous plans for growth in the short to medium term," he stated.

But the presence of Intact, the largest provider of P&C insurance in Canada according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in the market sends a stronger signal than any quote in a press release can. It's worth noting that Aviva is the second-largest P&C writer in the country — and a major telematics player in its own right.

So will the Great White North be the Great White Hope for usage-based insurance going forward? It's something to keep an eye on, at least.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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