Vitalitydrive: Improving your driving

South African insurance company Discovery reduces claims cost 11% by helping its insurers drive better … and save up to 50% on fuel in rewards!

In 2014, the South African insurance company Discovery partnered with the Cambridge, MA based Cambridge Mobile Telematics [1] to enhance its “Vitalitydrive” telematics program launched in 2011 [2].

How it works

In short, Vitalitydrive asks drivers to install a small piece of hardware (a so-called “DQ-track”) that measures the driver’s driving behavior (like speed, acceleration/breaking intensity, turns) and feeds it back to Discovery’s analytics team. Based on a series of algorithms, the analysis feeds back the information to the driver who can learn how to improve her/his driving abilities.

Improved driving creates value for both the driver and the insurance company

  • Driver: Aside from becoming a better driver, the user benefits from rewards to better driving such as discounts on the premium, discounts on gas (up to 50% of fuel consumption, each month), discounts on car maintenance (15%), and automatic real-time emergency assistance (in case the DQ-track device signals that an emergency has happened). The user has access to information on past drives and suggestions on how to improve driving through an app [3].
  • Insurance company: Discovery benefits from its insured finding themselves in fewer accidents and thus reduced claims costs. According to COO of Discovery Insure Francois Theron, the more than 90% of accidents are the result of poor driving behavior like speeding — the program has helped reduce accident frequency by 11% over five years [4]. In addition, the program provides a way for the insurance company to create loyalty with its customers by making a way for it to interact with its customers on positive events (i.e., rewards, improved driving progress) … in contrast to its competitors that are only in contact with customers on the negative events when accidents happen or payment has to be processed. Finally, the driver data better helps Discovery assess insurance risks and improves its ability to price individual customers according to the their risk profiles.

Example of app screen with recommendations

Source: [5] and [6]


What’s next

Recent steps reveal that Discovery may look into using its telematics group to diversify revenues from insurance: In July 2017, Discovery established a partnership with Avis to install a “SafeDrive” app in all rental cars in 10 locations built on the Vitalitydrive technology [7].

“… rental cars are involved in a higher rate of accidents due to the frequency of their use and because clients use them with less caution than they would their own vehicles. With Avis SafeDrive, clients receive immediate feedback on their driving through the app, and are guided to accumulate points for good driving to unlock daily rewards such as a free coffee, smoothies or meals.”
– Rainer Gottschick, CEO Avis South Africa [8]

Insofar the partnership signals a move by Discovery into selling the telematics technology, this could help the company spread the fixed development costs over more paying customers – possibly leveraging the larger userbase to create better technologies. While sharing the technology with competitor insurance companies could give away a competitive advantage, the move to rental companies is smart: for Discovery, it allows rental drivers not in the Discovery insurance program to become aware and try out telematics … and maybe switch to Discovery!











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