This article was produced in partnership with Intact Insurance
David Saric, of Insurance Business, sat down with Danny Da Costa, senior vice president of Intact Insurance, Ontario and Freddy Marcantonio, vice president of business development and distribution at Tag Tracking, to discuss Intact and Tag’s commitment to combatting auto theft.
As auto theft reaches crisis levels in Canada, governments, the insurance industry and individuals need to amp up their prevention and recovery strategies. One of the key tactics Intact Insurance is sharing with brokers and their customers is a nanotechnology the size of a grain of rice, which the insurer is bringing to all of its policyholders in the Ontario market.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a car is stolen every six minutes in Canada. Équité Association estimates that car theft costs Canadians more than a billion dollars a year. In Ontario alone, auto theft increased more than 71% from 2014 to 2021, with a 14% jump in 2021 and a shocking 40% surge in 2022.
According to Danny Da Costa (pictured top), senior vice president of Intact Insurance’s Ontario division, this phenomenon has widespread implications for all Ontarians.
“It’s not just high-worth vehicles that are being primarily targeted anymore,” he said. “Every car is at risk, and every customer needs protection.”
The Ontario government recently announced a $51 million investment to help cut down auto theft and better equip the province’s law enforcement to identify and dismantle organized crime rings.
Delivered over the next three years, the investment includes an OPP-led Organized Crime Towing and Auto Theft Team, a community safety grant and a Major Auto Theft Prosecution Response Team.
“This initiative is certainly helpful, but the insurance industry must also be proactive to really create a worthwhile change,” Da Costa said.
Enter Tag, an affordable anti-theft solution developed in Canada that is virtually tamper-proof and autonomous from a car’s electrical system.
The Tag tracking system is built with three layers of protection. The first is a physical etch on the front driver and passenger side windows with the company logo to warn thieves that the car is protected.
“Tag is as much a preventative measure as it is a way to recover stolen cars, since these bandits now recognize our logo, which [given the effectiveness of the protection], certainly helps fend off any criminal activity,” said Freddy Marcantonio, vice president of business development and distribution at Tag (pictured below).
Next, the car is electronically etched with nano tags, which are the size of a grain of rice and placed on the components of a vehicle that are traditionally dismantled and sold for parts. Each is encrypted and associated with a unique Tag number.
Finally, multiple water-proof tracking units, equipped with an anti-jamming technology, are installed on the exterior and interior of the vehicle.
Marcantonio and his partners developed this technology back in 2008 in response to the changing realities of modern-day theft.
Tag has been available in Quebec since 2010, through a partnership with Intact. It has facilitated almost $100 million in car recoveries in Quebec, and, according to Marcantonio, reduces the occurrence of theft of protected cars drastically.
This year, the technology has entered the Ontario market to help combat the province’s auto theft problem.
As Tag’s earliest adopter and pioneer, Intact is pleased that some of its competitors have also embraced the technology, Da Costa told Insurance Business. He hopes to see them encourage all customers protect themselves, not just owners of the high-risk models.
For brokers, Tag presents an opportunity to both educate and better safeguard their customers.
“Brokers always play a critical role in connecting customers to the right insurance product and solution,” Da Costa said. “Offering customers Tag and showing them how it increases recovery and, more importantly, prevents theft, highlights the advisory value of brokers.
“Looking out for a customer’s best interests means helping them avoid a loss altogether.”
Preventing auto theft alleviates the unwanted stress of having to purchase a replacement car, as ongoing supply chain issues continue to make it more difficult for manufacturers to meet consumer demand.
And, as Ontarians deal with the financially crippling effects of inflation, finding ways to sidestep any additional financial inconvenience is paramount.
Intact auto policy holders who install Tag on their vehicles are eligible for an auto insurance discount.
Intact Insurance is Canada’s largest home, auto and business insurance company, the choice of more than four million consumers coast to coast. Intact Insurance is a member company of Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) is the largest provider of property and casualty (P&C) insurance in Canada, a leading provider of global specialty insurance, and, with RSA, a leader in the U.K. and Ireland.