Canadian Underwriter

Data space can empower brokers, broker forum hears

March 1, 2016   by Jason Contant, Online Editor

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Brokers need to get more into the data space, understanding that data actually belongs to the customer, suggested Hugh McTavish, president of InsureMy and Godfrey-Morrow Insurance and Financial Services Ltd., at the Insurance Canada Broker Forum on Tuesday.

Data actually belongs to the customer, Hugh McTavish said at the Insurance Canada Broker Forum

Speaking during a session titled The Connected World: Telematics as an Appetizer, McTavish said that telematics is going to be a large disruptor in the insurance industry, and “not just as it exists today, but where it’s going.”

“I will look back and say this has been the biggest change in my lifetime in insurance,” he predicted during the session, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “The whole issue is happening faster and it’s happening faster because of data.”

Although there has been a lot of discussion on data, that it actually belongs to the customer hasn’t been discussed much, McTavish told conference attendees. “When you spend time with the auto manufacturers, they go, ‘It’s our data.’ When you talk to insurance companies, they say ‘It’s our data.’ When you talk to brokers, we’d like to get a hold of that data. But at the end of the day… it is the customer’s data.”

Hugh McTavish, president of InsureMy and Godfrey-Morrow Insurance and Financial Services Ltd.

It is that data piece that allows brokers to be empowered, McTavish said, adding that they need to understand what the data is telling them and why consumers should trust them with the information. “If we don’t have the data, we don’t know what we can do with the data,” he said during his presentation. “Let the client understand there is some benefit to sharing this data. We may not know what it is yet, but we are going to share it and find some solutions.”

McTavish also spoke about InsureMy’s time-based insurance – a fleet product that uses telematics to indicate when the vehicle is parked and, at the end of the term, the customer gets a refund based on the length of time collectively that it is parked. With InsureMy as the insurance advisor, a telematics provider and an insurance company, “those cogs are all connected and working together,” he said. “It takes a while to get around to talking to the right people and making sure everybody understands what we are trying to do and that it is a beneficial product to everyone involved.”

Telematics provides information ranging from tire pressure to anything that is happening with the operation of the vehicle, such as speed and location. “We are providing advice based on real information and not something that is historical,” McTavish said. “Anybody who has telematics in their fleet, they save 30% on the fuel cost, but insurance has not been something they have been talking about,” he noted. “So this is an easy product for the client to understand because what we do is we accumulate the time the vehicle is parked and collectively at the end of the year, they get a refund based on how long the vehicle is parked.”

The company also sits down with clients and looks at their data, with their permission, McTavish said, noting that the only data the insurance company sees is the time parked or idle time. “So we sit down with them and take a look at their fleet and can advise them on a particular vehicle or a particular driver.” If somebody, for example, is constantly speeding or driving late at night when they are using a service vehicle in the oil patch, then something may need to be done. “We have a limo fleet that loves [telematics] because we sit down with the limo drivers and say, ‘If you continue along this path of driving the way you are, you are going to get fired because of insurance costs.’”

As for InsureMy, the company is looking at bringing a young driver program into Canada within a year, McTavish reported. “It’s a little more sophisticated, but it’s still the same idea – let’s use that advice to make people safer.”