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Ingenie Warms to Self-Installed Telematics Devices

The company relied solely on professionally installed telematics devices before its recent launch and expansion.

Since its inception, Ingenie, a telematics-based auto insurer focused on young drivers, has insisted that its black boxes be professionally fitted by its team of installers. Even though some insurers are wary of the costs associated with telematics, founder Richard King has said that the extra cost is made up by even more accurate underwriting, rating, and pricing.

But as the market for telematics insurance expands, so the company's stance has softened. For its ambitious new products announced earlier this week — a UK product for older drivers and products for young and experienced drivers in Ontario — the company will allow customers to self-install devices in the OBDII port of their vehicles.

"The early OBD devices weren't really capturing the amount of data we needed," King said in an interview with Insurance & Technology. "The boxes we've been testing have been able to capture the kind of data, and the market is moving more toward self-installed devices."

King said the idea to expand the company's offerings came in conversations with the parents of its target market of younger drivers. They were intrigued by the idea of telematics insurance, he says, but the product can't be quite as intense.

"The proposition will have a twist, it will recognize that you're never going to change the driving behavior of someone who's older," he says. "It wont focus so much on education, but on giving a discount."

That's similar to programs in the U.S., like Progressive's Snapshot or Allstate's DriveWise. In addition, interested older customers can "try before they buy" by downloading a smartphone app that will give them an idea of what discounts they might be eligible for.

[Why insurers must learn to love smartphone usage-based insurance]

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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