Canadian Underwriter

How Intact is changing usage-based auto insurance in one province

October 21, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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Intact Insurance is making some key changes to its usage-based insurance (UBI) product for motorists in Nova Scotia.

Essentially, the company is requiring continual monitoring of an insured’s driving behaviour rather than having the same discount apply until the end of the policy term.

With usage-based insurance (UBI), motorists in several provinces can get discounts if their behaviour (such as speed, acceleration, time of day, sudden acceleration and hard braking, detected using telematics) is perceived as low-risk. In Nova Scotia, under Intact’s UBI program my Driving Discount, an insured driver gets a one-time enrolment discount that applies until the end of his or her current policy term. On renewal, eligible clients get a discount based on their driving behaviour during an “assessment period.”

“The new program requires continuous monitoring to maintain the discount,” Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board chair Peter Gurnham wrote. “The driving behavior will be reassessed at regular set intervals and the discount may increase or decrease as a result.  Intact explained that driving behavior can change over time and locking in a discount may be inappropriate.”

Nova Scotia’s auto insurance regulator approved a change to the program on Oct. 16.

The changes take effect Jan. 8, 2020, for new business. For renewal business, the changes will take effect on Feb. 8, 2020, although existing clients would have the option of having their program grandfathered.

Intact is also changing to a smartphone app only, as opposed to giving clients the option of installing a device into the vehicle diagnostic port.

By using a smart phone app only, information would be tied directly to a particular driver, Gurnham wrote.

A third change approved by the board is to change the name from my Driving Discount to my Drive.

Intact reports using a plethora of information from a smart phone app to determine a driver’s risk in Nova Scotia. Data include vehicle location, average speed, average acceleration, distance travelled, accelerometer and gyroscope data (acceleration, deceleration, cornering events), start and end date of travel, travel start and end times, mileage, road type, weather conditions, traffic conditions and speed limits. It also detects distracted driving because Intact can determine whether the driver is using their smart phone while driving.

The “ultimate objective” of UBI “is to make sure people have feedback on a constant basis; that they receive information on the way they drive,” said Louis Gagnon, president of Intact’s Canadian operations, during the 2018 Property Casualty Underwriters Club CEO Luncheon.

“Sometimes it’s related to a discount. Sometimes it’s simply related to information – where they should go, where they should park their car,” Gagnon said at the time.

With UBI, Intact is “trying to get past proxies” for risk in underwriting auto insurance, said Jean-François Larochelle, director of Intact’s data lab, during a webinar in 2018. Examples of proxies include the driver’s age and where the vehicle is parked at night, Larochelle said during the webinar, Insurance Analytics to Supercharge Performance, hosted by Insurance Nexus.

“What we are trying to get [from telematics] is, are you a good driver or not?” Larochelle said. “The next question on our side is, is it strong enough to remove all the other variables?”

Other carriers using UBI in Canada include Desjardins, The Co-operators, Allstate and CAA.


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2 Comments » for How Intact is changing usage-based auto insurance in one province
  1. Frank Cain says:

    As I guy who has been driving around for 71 years (Yeah!, I got my Learners at age 14 – Hey, good old days, Huh? – or better yet, Eh?). But what I never got, as far as I can remember, was some kind of hypnotic brain treatment that would make my driving years as emotional-less – and heedlessness-free in order to operate a motor vehicle properly. And I doubt if anyone else did. Which makes me wonder to what degree anxiety and tension, for example, enter into a driver’s head behind the wheel and to what degree these and other elements affect his driving, i.e, inconsideration, tribulation, discomposure, inquietude, dejection, vexation of spirit, uneasiness, displeasure, depth of misery, and on and on, ad infinitum (well, at least 400 or 500 more).

    It could well be that eventually, with self-driving vehicles, we could be as emotional as we want to be without any effect on the operation of the vehicle. Let’s say someone steps off the curb, mid-street, and would have otherwise been sent flying to the next block but the vehicle breaks and they keep walking to the other side, head down, still reading their cosmos-graphic telecommunications unit. The driver lowers the window and hollers at the top of his lungs to the jay-walker, who can’t hear because of ear buds. The driver feels good he may have saved the jay-walkers life in another scenario and he got his vitriol out of his system. By the time all this happens, the jay-walker has already arranged a special luncheon date for tomorrow.

    But that’s then and this is now. Anxiety and tension? Yep! Still there!

  2. Richard A says:

    I’ve been driving from the age of 13, no learners permit but because my father felt it important for a sober person to be driving, age was irrelavent. I think that just knowing my driving was being monitored constantly would prove to be a distraction in itself and just maybe a lot of the so called safe drivers out there are actually creating havoc on the roads. Like the oes that are so careful they do 10 km/h under the speed limits. Now on a windy road where there are very few places to pass, the over carefull driver (Or terrified of driving) and I’ve seen this, has 20 vehicles or more held up behind them. Since they never look in the rear view mirror or do getting upset at all the vehicles behind them. Never once thinking it might be the conciderate thing to do, by pulling over to let the frustrated people in the growing line behind them to go by. It matters not since they continue to get a discount for their good driving according to the app. In reallity of people in my age bracket (mid 60’s) we lived through the times when normal speed limits on the 400 series hwy’s was 120 km/h and all others paved roads was 100 km/h. Even now if you are out driving around you will find most vehicles are still driving these speeds and the only time a problem occurs is when these drivers come up upon those driving the speed limit and again we end up with the same issue as above. it gets further complicated when those driving at 100 km/h are not passers, they just stay in their spot hoping the driver in front turns off so they can resume the higher speed. So for the cars in the line whose drivers are not afraid of passing,
    they have to accelerate hard then brake hard to get up and around the slower moving vehicles.

    It’s normal to drive just under 20 km/h over the speed limit and never be stopped by the police for speeding. Just as having a dark tinted liciense plate cover never seems get anyone the $124.00 ticket for having anything covering it, including snow. I do believe that there are more better drivers that constantly drive faster than those actually doing the speed limit. There are the exceptions in both cases but usually the drivers constantly driving over the limit are actually watching the road not playing with their phones. I’ve personnally have been in two car accident’s, the first when I died behind the wheel and the resulting accident brought me back from the dead. The second when I was rear ended by a taxi in Toronto when he couldn’t stop in time on the wet pavement, when traffic came to a quick stop.

    In an age where cars can virtually drive themselves and correct slips and slides automatically, why so many accidents still happen, while when speed limits were higher, without all the gadgets built into new vehicles today, we managed to control our vehicles just as well. Could it be that just maybe knowing how to drive was more of a talent than just pointing the car in oe direction without knowing the cause and effect of what was happening from using the gas and brakes. The one other issue is actually using snow tires in winter which in Toronto is rare to see.

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