The Canadian insurtech space might not be as developed as it is in the US or Europe yet, but connected car companies are already making an impact on the industry as they begin to establish relationships with insurers.
Leaders from three of these companies spoke at the most recent insurtech event held at Aviva Canada's Digital Garage, and spoke to Insurance Business about how they see their products integrating with auto insurance offerings in the very near future.
X-Matik is already working with Aviva to launch a pilot project of LaneCruise, an add-on kit for any car that makes it self-driving. The year-long pilot will involve installing the technology in 10 City of Toronto fleet vehicles used by staff. Each trained driver will take the connected car through scenarios that test the capability of LaneCruise in an assortment of driving conditions.
The point of the pilot is to gather data on how having LaneCruise in cars lowers the probability of an accident and hence, insurance costs, said X-Matik CEO Nima Ashtari.
Despite the benefits of the technology, it hasn’t been an easy road to get connected car technology off the ground in Canada.
“One of the main barriers to do something like this in Ontario is insurance companies here are a little more conservative than those in Europe in terms of taking on early tech risks,” explained Ashtari. “But, they are coming along. I think it’s going to improve over the next few years.”
It’s already becoming common for insurance companies to work with telematics providers, said Remi Desa, CEO and co-founder of Pantonium, a platform that manages fleets of vehicles. All the information captures from users of Pantonium, for instance, can be used by fleet operators to determine a driver’s risk tolerance.
The company doesn’t work directly with insurers yet, but plans to in the future.
“Especially in some of the newer areas that we’re working on,” added Desa, pointing to a corporate mobility program the company is currently working on. “That solution would have, I think, a lot of interest for insurers because we would be going to companies and providing them vehicles tied in with the technology.” Having an insurance partner to cover a fleet would then make sense.
Litmus Automation, an IoT platform that can collect data from any connected car device, is also not directly working with insurers right now, but their clients are able to provide that data to insurers.
A company can take any equipment or assets that they insurance already, and monitor it in real-time through Litmus, which can lead to insurance companies offering that client better premiums.
John Younes, co-founder and chief officer at Litmus, said that many big insurers offer their own dongles that drivers can install in their cars to make them connected. The next step for Litmus is to show that the platform can be used in various ways to collect relevant data.
“For us, it will be around providing multiple use cases,” said Younes. “It’s not just for vehicles – there are other industries they could apply it to as well. Iot is all about connecting assets that didn’t have a voice before.”