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Telematics can cut insurance cost for good drivers, says Irda

Monday, August 07, 2017

Motor insurance premium in future may be determined through black box-based real-time monitoring of driving habits, vehicle usage and even distances covered, as per a proposal mooted by regulator Irda.

Inviting public comments, it has sought to know among other issues, as to why should a careful driver who doesn't cover many miles and drives predominantly during offpeak hours should pay the same premium as the one who drives recklessly?

At present, motor insurance in India is being priced based on parameters like the 'make and model' of the vehicle, its capacity, and the geographical use. "There are a variety of driving habits of customers and usage of vehicles also varies widely because of many factors like new forms of transport, demographic shifts, whether one is driving one's own car or somebody else's etc," Irda said while floating the concept of 'telematics' to determine motor insurance premium.

Telematics is about integrated use of telecommunications and IT for vehicles. It is used for real-time navigation, roadside assistance, and vehicle tracking. Telematics insurance is also known 'Black Box Insurance', 'GPS Car Insurance', 'Smart Box Insurance', 'Pay-as-you- Drive-Insurance' and 'Usage Based Insurance', among others.

The technology was introduced in the UK and USA in 2000 and cost is gradually is falling due to smart phone technology combined with an easier and cheaper installation process. Italy and South Africa too are using the concept. In its discussion paper on which comments have been invited till September 8, Irda that in the context of motor insurance, 'Telematics' is "today a much talked about concept as it enables a more scientific methodology for pricing, apart from having certain advantages for the insured, insurer and the society as a whole".

Once implemented, the system could see reduction in premium paid by "a careful driver who doesn't cover many miles and drives predominantly during offpeak hours".

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