Canadian Underwriter

How telematics may help Alberta truckers’ rates

February 9, 2023   by Philip Porado

Long-haul truck crossing grassy area

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With an eye toward improving driving habits, Facility Association (FA) announced the launch of a telematics program for truck drivers in Alberta, effective May 1, 2023.

It said the program’s objective is to help drivers and operators correct poor driving behaviours that are observed through a video-enabled telematics device. Program enrollment is voluntary but participants would qualify to receive an incentive reduction in premium of up to 8%.

Plus, participation could qualify truck drivers to return to the standard market, which offers lower prices and more choices. FA president and CEO Saskia Matheson noted one of the association’s goals is to have as small a market presence as possible.

“When we see trends of our market share growing like we have in Alberta with interurban vehicles, we look for ways to try and get drivers back into the standard market,” she said. “There are a variety of reasons why drivers end up with FA, but poor driving habits or behaviours are the most common.

“Being insured through FA is meant to be temporary. We believe that consumers are best served in an open and competitive insurance market and this new telematics program can help them get there.”

Since 2018, FA’s said its market share of trucks in Alberta has increased significantly.

Last fall, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) noted retirement rates for older drivers, combined with increased shipping demand spurred by Alberta’s economic growth, had raised flags about truck driver skill levels in the province.

At that time, Aaron Sutherland, vice president of IBC’s Pacific region, noted drivers graduating from Alberta’s Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program were insured by FA for an average of three years.

That’s concerning, according to Fadia Charbine, FA vice president, underwriting, claims & operations.

“[We] saw a 47% increase in vehicle count in 2021 over 2020, and a further 14% in 2022 over 2021,” she said. “We know this is not sustainable going forward and it’s the primary reason this program needed to be launched now.

“We recognize the importance of the trucking industry to the Alberta economy. By providing daily feedback, this program not only provides drivers with the additional training and experience, but it will also support safer roads and highways in the province.”

To operate the program, FA’s partnered with connected insurance technology provider Foresight Insurance Analytics. That company will install the telematics devices and manage the data it receives. It will generate a daily score and share it online, allowing drivers to improve their scores over time and correct bad driving habits.

FA said the score is based on the interaction of multiple incident types, like red light violations, distracted driving, following too closely, hard braking, late braking, weaving in and out of lanes, being hard on the gas, harsh turning, not wearing seatbelts and lane violations.

To protect drivers’ privacy, FA won’t have access to data used to generate scores, but it will collect mileage driven outside of Alberta for IU (interurban) Telematics participants to help ensure premiums reflect risk levels.

If the program is successful, FA said it will consider establishing it in other provinces.


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