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Octo Telematics to acquire Willis Towers Watson’s UBI assets; firms to partner on insurance-related products


October 12, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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Octo Telematics and Willis Towers Watson (WTW) have reached an agreement in which the former will acquire the latter’s usage-based insurance (UBI) assets, setting the stage for the two companies to work together on more auto telematics opportunities.

Leveraging Octo’s Next Generation Platform (NGP), the acquisition – which includes WTW’s DriveAbility solution and DriveAbility Marketplace – “will bring globally recognized scoring/analytical capabilities to serve the global insurance telematics marketplace,” notes a statement Wednesday from London-based Octo, a global provider of telematics and data analytics solutions for the auto insurance industry.

DriveAbility aggregates and analyzes granular telematics and insurance data to provide a driving score and assist insurers to design, score, issue and bind telematics-based insurance policies. The NGP, for its part, provides an insurance ecosystem that offers a wide range of products and services to insurers.

Related: U.S. consumers embracing connected cars and usage-based auto insurance: Willis Towers Watson survey

Following completion of the transaction, Octo and global advisory, broking and solutions company WTW will develop a strategic alliance on “additional auto telematics opportunities to enhance both companies’ suite of products and services,” the statement adds.

Led by Octo and guided by an advisory board, “the partnership will focus on further development of algorithms and other analytical tools to provide actionable intelligence based on accurate analysis of data,” Octo reports.

The advisory board will be chaired by Geoff Werner, global telematics leader for WTW, who will join the Octo team. WTW will also have representation on the advisory board with Duncan Anderson, global leader, Insurance Technology, and Tom Coughlin, national partner, Willis Towers Watson North America.

Related: Octo North America releases new suite of products for connected cars

“Insurance telematics is evolving far beyond the simple black-box hardware. With ever-increasing data volumes being measured and recorded, the tools being used to analyze it and provide accurate driving behaviour information to insurers must develop at a similar pace,” Fabio Sbianchi, CEO of Octo Telematics, says in the statement.

“Willis Towers Watson and Octo share a similar vision,” notes Alice Underwood, WTW’s global leader, Insurance Consulting and Technology. “We’re always looking beyond what’s currently offered in the telematics space and leading the way in the development of the future,” Underwood says.

Octo reports that the insurance telematics industry is growing rapidly, with almost 100 million UBI policies expected worldwide by 2020. With more and more data being produced, “big data analytics are, therefore, crucial to break down telematics information such as driver behaviour data to create driver scores, as well as carry out crash analysis and provide the full range of telematics benefits.”

By pooling resources, Sbianchi suggests that “together, we can extend our geographical reach and leverage our respective established networks to maintain a leading position in enabling consumers and insurers to gain the maximum benefit from accurate telematics data.”

Adds Underwood, “Analyzing data for insurers and constantly improving our offer in this area will be the focus of our partnership with Octo. At the same time, the IoT (Internet of Things) and big data are bringing ever more exciting opportunities for data analytics.”

Related: Mobile telematics data can offer rich insights into distracted driving and impact loss trends, Insurance Analytics Canada speaker suggests