Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Future of Telematics

The Future of Telematics and article from our partners at GeoTab. Lynx Telematics is a full service telematics provider and servicing company.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Toddler Struck and Killed by a Texting Driver

HOLTON, Ind. —
A 14-month-old boy was killed when he ran into the road and was struck by a pickup truck.

Ripley County deputies said Adrik Hanaway was playing with his older siblings in the yard just before 7 p.m.when he ran out onto Hopewell Road near Holton just before 7 p.m.

"We (were) in the front yard, (and) all I heard, my daughter yelling," said mother Alicia Hanaway. "She goes, 'Mommy, mommy!' and I turned around and the baby was in the road."

About that time, Jonathon Phillips, 19, of Holton, was his 1992 Ford Ranger pick-up heading westbound on Hopewell Road at approximately 38 mph.

Phillips said he had been texting before the accident and looked down to set his cell phone down when he hit something in the roadway.

Phillips said he thought he had struck an animal, and turned around to see what he had hit. When Phillips returned, he realized he had struck a child.

Hanaway was airlifted to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis, where he died later Thursday evening. A neighbor ran to assist the boy, checking his pulse and beginning CPR as a sheriff's deputy arrive. After that, he tried to comfort Hanaway.

"I got a hold of her, put my arms around her," said neighbor Robert Buchanan. "I don't know her from beans. I put my arm around her, put her head on my shoulder and said, 'Honey, cry it out.'"
The incident remains under investigation.

Re-Posted by Vincent Rush of Lynx Telematics and Lynxsafe Teen Driving Monitors with "Anti-Texting" technology.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AAA Study: Teen Drivers with Passengers are Riskier

About one-third of all fatal car crashes are caused by speeding, but for 16- and 17-year-old drivers, the numbers rise to almost half when there are three or more passengers, according to a new study. 

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, according to the Federal Highway Safety Administration.

This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released its latest findings to highlight how the prevalence of risky behavior generally grows for drivers ages 16 and 17 when teen passengers are present.

For 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes, the analysis found:

Prevalence of speeding increased from 30 percent with no passengers to 44 percent with two and to 48 percent with three or more.

Prevalence of alcohol similarly rose from 13 percent to 17 percent and 18 percent.

The foundation analyzed data on fatal crashes in the United States from 2005 through 2010. Researchers found 9,578 drivers age 16 and 17 were involved in fatal crashes, and that 3,994 of these included at least one teen passenger. All risk factors were more common among male drivers.

New York State's graduated driver licensing program, which took effect Sept. 1, 2003, limits teens with learner permits and junior licenses to driving only from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Nassau and Suffolk, except for limited travel to work, school and driver's education, with proof required. It also caps the number of passengers under 21, among other restrictions.

An earlier foundation report found loud conversation and horseplay were substantially more common with multiple teen passengers than with siblings or adult passengers.

Re-posted by Vincent Rush of Lynx Telematics, developers of the LynxSafe Teen Driving Monitor.


These are some of the very reasons that we developed the LynxSafe Teen Driving Monitor.

One of the scariest days in any parent’s life is that moment you hand them the keys for their first night out on the town.

As my own Mother has often said; “I would lie awake every night, until I heard the garage door open. Only then, could I get good nights sleep!”

Actually, if Mom had known the way I was driving; those nights would have been even more restless!

After a personal family tragedy involving teen driving, I began to really think about my two children that had yet to begin the driving process and made the determination that I would not sit back and do nothing, other than say a prayer and keep my fingers crossed.

Telematics has been on the rise over the past few years and has really made a leap into mainstream public, thanks to a gal named Flo and Progressive Insurance’s product offering called “Snap Shot”

“Snap Shot” is a product that simply plugs into your vehicles diagnostic port and harvests data, based on driving habits, for the insurance company.

Known as UBI (User Based Insurance), the insurance company’s actuaries will assign a risk assessment profile to the individual driver and either slightly increase or lower premiums based on the data accumulated.

As one insurance company CEO recently remarked to me; “Telematics is to the insurance industry, what credit score was five years ago.”

Credit scores used to be accurate indicators of a drivers risk profile and predictors of the likelihood to be involved in an accident.

However, now that credit laws and new regulations on lending have changed due to the economy, many people that were previously considered “good credit profiles” are now considered marginal to poor, due to no fault of their own.

What was once an accurate indicator of risk factor for an individual driver was now becoming viewed as increasingly inaccurate?

Telematics provided a “game changer” to the insurance industry, with accurate indisputable driver profiling as a result of individual driving habits and real time monitoring.

While this is a great product and many of the top insurance companies are now moving to a UBI model, there is still a basic flaw to me; As a parent, I want to know my kid is a bad driver….the second he is a bad driver and not…2 weeks after it’s too late, when my insurance company tells me his driver score went down 3 points.

The LynxSafe Teen Driving Monitor, by Lynx Telematics has allowed us to develop device that simply plugs into the drivers diagnostic port that allows a parent to monitor in real-time EXACTLY what their teen drivers are doing behind the wheel.

Once the LynxSafe device is installed, a parent logs onto their personal website and sets up parameters or rules, that they expect their teenager to follow when behind the wheel.

Along with rules and boundaries, a parent or loved one, chooses how they want to be notified, either by smart phone, with live map locations when violations occur, or by any internet enabled device. As for me, I like seeing on my smart phone exactly where my kid is…the moment they have broken a rule.

For example, I want to eliminate his or her ability to text and drive or browse his web enabled smart phone, I can now take full control over that deadly habit with our Anti-Texting” technology.

Next, thanks to a “Speed by Street” feature, I only want my son to drive no more than 5mph over the speed limit on any given highway or street.

With our “On Star” like capabilities, I can set up a collision alert and have the peace of mind to know that if any fender bender occurs, our 24/7 call center has already contacted my child before I even have a chance to call.

I can also set up other parameters such as excessive RPM’s, jack rabbit starts, panic breaking, cornering too hard as well as a special feature called “Boundaries”

If my son or daughter happens to be grounded and I only want to allow them to drive back and forth to school and work, I can set up a boundary that will notify me the second they leave that zone or if they cut out of school early, I will know the moment they leave the lot.

As a parent, I can also monitor specific engine diagnostics such as low fluids, mechanical glitches and head off future expensive repairs.

Or if my daughter is at the movies and leaves her lights on, I can be at home and receive an urgent alert that her battery has dipped below 12 volts thereby calling her to go start her car and avoid the potentially unsafe practice of asking a stranger in a movie parking lot at 11:30pm for assistance.

And thanks to a login screen that shows a live GPS location of where my monitored vehicle is, I now never have to hear that excuse; “Sorry Dad, my phone battery was dead.” Or “I apparently had no coverage.”

By the way, guess what car my Daughter will use for her dates!

Our goal at LynxSafe, is not to “bust” our kids and have cause to punish them rather to let them know that Mom and Dad, are still along for the ride.

As our slogan says; “They have the license, they have the keys…and now you have peace of mind!”

For more information on the LynxSafe Product by LynxTelematics, contact Vincent Rush at (513) 965-6318 or at or visit

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

National Teen Driver Safety Week begins this Monday

BUCYRUS -- Susan Albright's daughter, Madi, recently began driving with a permit. Her son already has his license.

"My biggest concerns have been learning to drive in the snow and ice, and also with having a son with the aspect of 'showing off' and losing control," Albright said. "The idea of your child being injured or killed while driving makes me want to duct tape them in their rooms."

Monday marks the beginning of National Teen Driver Safety Week -- dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions to teen driving deaths.

Diana Keller, owner of Elite Driving School with offices in Marion and Bucyrus, said each teen must attend 24 hours of classes before they can get their driver's license in Ohio.

"Each class focuses on different topics," Keller said. "We start out with things like road signs and safety at railroad crossings then get into how to scan for oncoming traffic, deer and other things, how texting affects driving, how to drive in different types of weather and several other important topics."
Keller said teens can begin the classroom work when they are 15 years and five months old.

"Then they can drive with anyone over the age of 21, preferably a parent or guardian, for 50 hours," Keller said. "After they complete their classroom work, they then must do eight hours in the car with a driving instructor."

Reed Richmond, health educator for the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department, said there are several basic facts about teen crashes:

» Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 cause of death for adolescents.
» The greatest lifetime chance of crashing occurs in the first six months after licensure.
» The overwhelming majority (75 percent) of serious teen driver crashes are caused by "critical errors," with the three common errors accounting for nearly half of these crashes. They include lack of scanning to detect and respond to hazards, going too fast for road conditions and being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle.

Richmond said environmental conditions such as poor weather, vehicle malfunction, or aggressive driving, or physical impairments such as drowsy driving are not primary factors in most crashes and. The fatal crash rate for drivers ages 16 to 19, based on miles driven, is three times higher than for drivers ages 20 and older. Nationally in 2010, a total of 3,115 teens ages 13 to 19 died as a driver or as a passenger of a teen driver. He said that statistics show that teen passengers and cellphones are two distractions proven to kill teens.
Twitter: @kimberlygasuras

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Choosing the Right Telematics Provider

How Do I Choose the Right Telematics Company
By Michael T. Sprouse, President G&A Research, Inc.

I was reading a copy of Fleet Owner magazine the other day, trying to make sense of the world of telematics, and lo and behold; I received a call from an old fleet client of mine that I have done consulting for several times over the past few years.

“What can you tell me about telematics?” Jim asked of me.

Trying to buy some time so that I did not sound unprepared for his inquiry, I responded with my patented, “Jim, could you please clarify the nature of that question. There are many answers to that.”
Having deflected the conversation and bought some time to collect my thoughts, my friend, who owns a beverage company, with a fleet of 250 trucks, went on to say that, while he believed that telematics time has come and realized that he needed to make the move to reduce his operational expenses and get a handle on the overall management of his assets, his concern was over…”How do I BUY telematics and what should I look for in a company?”

Trying to sound like the ever wise and knowledgeable oracle of fleet management solutions, I replied, “Ahhh Jim, you have stumbled upon one of the great mysteries in the modern-day telematics that holds as many theories as a government conspiracy. Let me get back to you in a few weeks and give you a thorough report, so that you can have enough information to make the right choice for your company.”

My journey for the proverbial “Arc of the Covenant” led me to interview several fleet based companies of various industries, from trucking to sales organizations and fleet sizes of 30 to 1200 vehicles, as well as ten telematics companies, all of which were “pioneers” and self-described “industry leaders”.

Allow me to digress.

First, it is important to look back and reflect on the fleet based telematics market and how it has evolved to this point and is beginning to approach critical mass.

For the purpose of this article, I will take a “Telematics for Dummies” approach.

Much like technological innovations that hit the market every few years and spawn a host of companies looking to cash in on the “Gold Rush” of that industry, telematics really burst onto the scene about three and a half years ago.

And much like the previous races to acquire market space, a whole plethora of “pioneers” aligned themselves with an OEM and set out to grab as much market share as possible.

Companies began assembling sales teams, armed them with marketing lists that divided the country up into territories, and began calling on companies that met certain fleet size criteria.

If your company had a fleet size of 100 vehicles or more, you have been called once for each of those vehicles, if not more.

Telematics was a new and shiny toy that carried the promise of reducing fuel budgets through decreased idling times and safer driving habits and was very attractive to companies looking to reduce operational expenses.

The asset management aspect of keeping tabs on all of your vehicles was very appealing as well.
Once a web demo would show all of a companies vehicles and give a CEO or fleet manager the vision of how they could keep an eye on all of their employees, a company would then sign a three-year agreement with a telematics provider, have a solution installed and then begin trying to make sense of the myriad of data that began flooding the fleet managers desk top.

While many companies could see the advantages of telematics and the financial impact that a properly run system could provide, a majority of companies, over the past three years chose to take a “wait and see” approach, either believing it sounded too good to be true, or not willing to part with financial resources due to the precarious state of the economy.

Now three years later, the telematics industry is approaching critical mass and the mountain of evidence is nothing short of overwhelming.

In fact, as one CFO recently told me, “The very reason we did not make the move, was the very reason we SHOULD have made the move. We believe that waiting two years has cost us nearly a $500,000. That’s money we could have used for marketing or other infrastructure.”

So with the mystery of telematics no longer unsolved, the only question being asked now is, “What should I look for in a provider?”

What I found to be most interesting in my research of companies that had purchased a solution, was not dissatisfaction in the technology or the results but rather in their provider.

A common theme that I kept encountering was that once the contract was signed and the support and the “romance” ended, they were stuck with a solution that, while not as complete as they needed, still came with three years of monthly monitoring fees.

As one of my clients remarked, “I was told that I was purchasing the most complete solution, which I later found out that I wasn’t and then a month later, I couldn’t find my sales representative with a search warrant. Now I am stuck with minimal tech support and have to figure out on my own how to maximize the capabilities. I don’t have time for that. I have a company to run!”

His language was more colorful than that; however for the sake of this article……

So what I have compiled, after a couple of months of research which included conversations with 18 end users as well as 10 randomly chosen telematics providers is a helpful guide on how to choose a telematics provider that will be right for your company.

I would like to point out that, I purposely do not mention company names, as this paper is designed to simply be a guide based on my research and not an endorsement of any one company or solution.
If you are a company owner or fleet manager, first of all, let me start by saying, congratulations on making the conscious decision to move your fleet into the world of telematics technology.
CEO’s and Fleet Managers for all companies reviewed have universally seen and experienced, without exception, the impact of a successfully implemented telematics program to an organization, from simply a fiscal aspect to a safety and productivity bottom line.

However, it can be very confusing in the telematics world, with hundreds of providers and as many solutions. I hope to be able to help you in your decision-making process with this list of the most commonly asked questions that Managers said that they wished they would have asked or researched further before making their decision.

The following is a list of questions to ask you potential service providers and an explanation of why it is important to know.

Q: Are you partnering with a telematics company or a company that simply sells telematics devices?

A: There are many companies that simply sell devices and monitoring but no real service and long-term support. Do you want to work with a re-seller or a company that is constantly innovating and working closely with you in partnership to insure that you maximize your ROI?

Q: Is your provider a local company that can work closely with you and your team, even after you’ve signed the contract? Or will your consultant, who is only an account rep, not be able to help you beyond the signing of the contract?

A: This may seem redundant of the previous question, but it is important to make sure that once you sign the contract, you are in essence “married” to your choice for the next 3 years. You are going to need help and support as you learn more about the capabilities of your solution and how to use it within your company.

Q: Are future upgrades automatically included or are you married to current technology for the length of contract…unless you pay for an upgrade?

A: Ever bought the latest and greatest cell phone, only to have version 2.1 come out 30 days later? Ten you know the frustration, Technology is always changing and there is an old saying, “Today’s innovations are will be out of date as of yesterday.” Telematics is no different. It’s best to beginning to take advantage of today’s technology with a company that provides free firmware and software upgrades. Why wait 6-9 months for future advances when it is costing you money today?

Q: Are they a “Plug and Play” solution vs. a “Wired In” Solution?

A: It was interesting how companies that don’t offer a “plug and play”, will do everything they can to convince you that it could be the death of your company if you choose to go that route. The truth is that there are very good plug and play solutions that are fully robust and give you everything you need. The long-term benefits are that there is no installation costs (typically $100 per unit) and un-wiring and transfer costs (typically $150). “Plug and Play” solutions make transfer from one vehicle to another a 30 second procedure.

Q: Do the have “speed by street” capabilities?

A: Most telematics solutions offer a generic speed monitoring solution. That solution usually only allows a fleet manager to establish an interstate speed limit. The truth is that in today’s safety conscious environment we live in, speeding on a residential or business district street is even more dangerous that being 10 mph over the speed limit on the interstate.

Q: Do they have “Anti-Texting” capabilities?

A: This really needs no explanation. When your company has an accident that results in an injury or even worse, a fatality, the victims lawyers will subpoena your drivers phone records and attempt to match a texting incident or phone conversation to the time of the accidents occurrence. At that point it is simply “Game Over” from a financial perspective.

While every company I interviewed said that they had a “very strict” no texting policy, none of the companies I spoke with had the ability to enforce that policy, leading to the adage that “A policy that is unenforceable is not really a policy”. And with today’s new texting laws, your company could be subject to an $11,000 fine if your driver is observed to be in violation.

Q: Do they have seat belt notification?

A: I found it very rare when speaking to telematics providers that this feature existed but it in fact does. Obviously this is a safety related feature and will please many insurance companies that recognize the value of telematics in a fleet.

Q: Do they provide “real-time” ECM diagnostics?

A: Real time is just what it says…happening now! I spoke with a few fleet managers that shared stories with me of solutions that saved thousands of dollars in costly repairs by alerting them that there was trouble beginning to emerge in their fleet and they were able to treat the symptoms before they became illnesses that could shut down a vehicle for days, if not weeks. Lost productivity aside, maintaining the health of the fleet is just as important as maintaining our personal health before an incurable illness occurs.

Q: Can they generate IFTA mileage logs and reports?

A: How important is this? I was surprised to find out that it was one of the key benefits of a fully robust telematics solution. One fleet manager informed me that by automating this process, he took one weeks worth of effort, every quarter and reduced it to a few days for the entire year.

Q: Do they have H.O.S. (Hours of Service) reporting capabilities?

A: This is important, especially for trucking companies that are concerned with D.O.T. reporting. It’s also valuable from a productivity perspective. As one Fleet Manager told me, “I like to be able to look and see how many more hours my drivers have left so that I can make the best use of our available fleet.”

Q: Is the product made in North America?

A: This comes down to a dependability issue as well as language and semantics of your implemented solution.

Q: Is design and manufacturing under the same roof?

A: An important characteristic of your telematics provider for the purpose of innovation and expedition of those technological advances.

Q: Do they have a Software Development Kit (S.D.K.)?

A: Why is this important? No one fleet is exactly the same and every fleet manager has different needs and desires. An S.D.K allows your IT department to write code and interface with other applications that in play in your fleets form Garmin solutions to snow plows and devices that measure salt tonnage per street.

And finally…..

Q: Does your company have references…that you are familiar with?

A: In my research, I found that every telematics company I spoke with had a ready-made list of references. However, upon examining those lists, I realized that I had only heard of 1 out of each 10 that I was given. I realize that there are companies such as UPS, Orkin, Frito Lay and more that have devoted thousands of hours and months of test piloting to determine the proper solutions for their companies. Before I make an investment, or “go to the altar” with a provider, I want to make sure that I am not their guinea pig.

I hope that this has been helpful to you and sheds some light on your telematics search.
While there are variables to every situation and probably no one solution that is perfect for every company, it became my experience through research and interviews that these are questions and requirements that repeated themselves most often.

Michael T. Sprouse
President, G&A Research Institute
Cincinnati, Ohio

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Telematics: Growing Up In Public

Chris McMahon Insurance Experts' Forum, September 7, 2012

The technology behind telematics and usage-based insurance is now mature enough that insurers can get a program up and running with relative ease. Telematics services providers, of which there are many, can manage virtually every aspect of a telematics program, from sourcing the hardware, managing connectivity, gathering and analyzing the data and creating an insurance score upon which to base the costs. That’s to be expected, and that was the overarching message from the Telematics USA show in Chicago this week.

The real value of a show like this goes beyond the overt marketing messages and lays in the first-hand validation of these ideas from insurance regulators, car makers, vendors and the insurers themselves.  Telematics is no longer some abstract technological possibility, but the eventual and natural result of multiple technological, economic and societal trends, including value shopping, perpetual connectivity, big data, consumer-loyalty programs, gamification, and more abstract ideas, like The Forever Health Monitor, which in short is about measuring everything, from individual performances to what one consumers and produces.

One of the more compelling and interesting ideas that supports the eventuality of telematics-based auto insurance came from Robin Harbage, director at Towers Watson, who spoke about the evolution of the telematics value proposition.

So far, insurers have been touting telematics as way for consumers to score discounts on auto insurance; but if you combine lower premiums and large upfront costs associated with planning, creating, testing and launching a telematics program, it’s no wonder that many insurers are taking a “wait and see attitude,” which has slowed adoption rates and delayed the achievement of a critical mass of insurers offering programs and consumers buying them.

In his presentation, Harbage described the evolution of telematics’ value:

• Marketing discounts, which appeal to self-selecting consumers, those who consider themselves to be safe drivers, or low-mileage and therefore low-risk drivers, and value shoppers. High visibility examples include Progressive’s Snapshot and State Farm’s In-Drive Co-Pilot.

• Marketing value-added services, which are designed to segment and appeal to higher value customers, (as exemplified by State Farm’s In-Drive Connect, the mid-tier offering which offers a range of reminders, diagnostics, driving tips and other apps).

• Marketing added security, (exemplified by and In-Drive Guardian, the “all-inclusive” offering that adds on incident alerts, emergency calls and roadside assistance).

• Personal goal achievement, which would be targeted at the more than 60 percent of drivers who don’t select basic usage-based insurance.

Telematics, in addition to offering a way to offer differentiated products in a crowded and
commoditized space, Harbage said, can significantly contribute to claims reduction and enhanced risk segmentation. The trick is to find the right tools to support your company’s definition of success, whether it’s a simple usage-based insurance product or a more expansive, and expensive, offering, and derive the data you need, not just the data you’re given.

He referred to the “intense data” coming out of telematics programs, which has real value for rating risk on a per-policy basis and as a segmentation tool. The caveat, however is that it’s easy to overspend and that the devices are just tools, not solutions.

Chris McMahon is a senior editor for Insurance Networking News.
Readers are encouraged to respond to Chris by using the “Add Your Comments” box below. Healso can be reached at

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Know Your Money, Sees Huge Increase in Telematics Car Insurance Traffic

Leading financial comparison website witnesses sustained 70% increase in month-on-month searches – Research finds that number of telematics car insurance companies in the market also growing significantly, and more than 210,000 policies have been sold LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, Sep 04, 2012 Know Your Money – a leading financial comparison and advice website – has registered a 70% month-on-month increase in traffic for telematics car insurance policies. With telematics car insurance – sometimes known as ‘black box’ insurance – a device is installed into a customer’s car which monitors the way that they drive. Those that drive safely are rewarded with cheaper policies. Know Your Money’s increases in search numbers for the product have been sustained at steady rate of growth between March and August 2012, with 70% representing the average monthly increase during that period. In response, Know Your Money has polled the insurance companies that offer telematics car insurance in the UK and can reveal that more than 210,000 policies have been sold to date. Though the first UK telematics products were tested in the market as early as 2006, more than half of the total policies have been taken out over the last year, since mid-2011. The number of companies that offer the product has also grown considerably. Though the providers are generally specialist companies, the market is now a third bigger than at the beginning of this year and more of the traditional insurers are beginning to offer telematics. In addition, the growth is expected to continue to rise dramatically over the next five years. So much so, that the product could account for more than half of all car insurance policies by 2017, according to some companies’ estimates. Supporters of telematics car insurance say that the product answers two problems. As well as lower premiums, especially for young people, it is predicted that the development will lead to much safer roads, since drivers will be more careful in order to get the cheapest prices. With this in mind, Know Your Money joint founder Jason Tassie said he was pleased to witness the upwards trends. He commented: “The growth in interest for telematics insurance products has been explosive so far this year. It’s something that we’re delighted to see here at Know Your Money. “Rising car insurance policies have priced many young people out of the market in recent years and it is unfair to punish the majority because of the actions of the few. Telematics car insurance policies have been proven to reduce car insurance costs significantly for young people and the early evidence suggests that road safety will improve too. We therefore see telematics as very much a product that is in line with our values as a consumer champion in the finance market.” Rassam Fakour-Zaker, editor at Know Your Money, added: “Black box insurance products have been developing over the last few years but up until now take up has been slow. However, as well as the increase in traffic to our website we’ve had lots of requests from our audience for the latest products and tips on how to buy telematics insurance. It looks like 2012 will go down in history as the year that black box cover takes its place as a mainstream insurance product.” How it works To get cheaper rates on their car insurance, telematics policy holders must drive to a number of standards. Their average speed, how much they drive and where, their breaking habits and how fast they go round corners will all be transmitted back to the insurer by the device. The company will then analyze the data to decide how much the customer pays. To help customers improve their driving, telematics insurers will also present each customer with an analysis of their own performance. This information is made available via the Internet or is sent via text messages, allowing the customer to make interventions where necessary. Systematic price reviews are then carried out at monthly or quarterly intervals for each customer. The policy also comes with the added bonus that if the car is stolen the telematics device will be able to pinpoint where it is. A round-up of other statistics on telematics car insurance: 1500% – the growth in the telematics market since 2009 (British Insurance Brokers’ Association) 57% – The number of drivers that expect to switch to telematics car insurance by 2017 (research commissioned by GoCompare) 20% – The amount that road accidents could be reduced by through telematics insurance (Norwich Union – now Aviva) 92% – The number of drivers who back prices to be decided by the way that they drive (research commissioned by GoCompare) 26% – The number of drivers that are involved in a collision within two years of passing their test (AA/Populus survey) As well as covering a wide range of banking and insurance products within its comparison tables, Know Your Money serves its audience with a portfolio of straight talking guides, industry updates and offers for high street shops and restaurants. The Know Your Money Telematics Car Insurance Guide is available by clicking here: . The Know Your Money review for the car insurance comparison site, Go Compare is available here: . About us: At Know Your Money our remit is to help our users make informed decisions when purchasing or applying for financial products. Through our product comparison tables and straight-talking guides, we help people to find suitable and affordable products that will stand them in good stead for the unknown financial demands of the future. The range of products we cover accounts for all major banking, insurance and utilities products. Since launching in 2005, Know Your Money has grown to over 300,000 unique visitors every month, with more than 50,000 opted-in recipients of our weekly e-newsletter. Re-posted by Vincent Rush of VP of Business Development for Lynx Telematics. Lynx Telematics is a Cincinnati based OEM of Telematic technology and provider of the Geo Tab product along with patented “Anti Texting and Web Browsing” technology for fleet based companies. Lynx Telematics is also the innovator and pioneer of the Lynx Safe Teen Driving Monitor that grants parents real-time data on their teenagers driving habits while blocking and disabling texting and driving. For more information, contact Vincent Rush at (513) 965-6318 or by email at

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Your Last Text...Texting While Driving

Take out your wireless device. Read the last text message you received out loud. Would reading or responding to that text message from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle be worth the risk of getting into a car accident or worse? Chances are, the text message could wait. In today's 24/7/365 world, staying connected is no longer an option. It's a necessity. With a tenfold increase in text messaging over the last three years according to CTIA — The Wireless Association, there is no question that texting is increasingly becoming the way many communicate today. And, for many, the allure to quickly read and respond — even from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle — can be tempting. But texting and driving is dangerous. FAIR USE NOTICE: This video may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 106A-117 of the U.S. Copyright Law. This video was produced by PicVid Productions Re-posted by Vincent Rush of Lynx Telematics in Cincinnati Ohio. Lynx Telematics is the developer of the Lynxsafe Teen Driving Monitor that allows parents of teen drivers to eliminate texting and driving by their teen drivers while at the same time, ensuring safe driving habits by monitoring speed, seat belt usage, driving habits and mechanical failures. If you're a concerned parent of a teen driver and would like more information on the LynxSafe Teen Driving Monitor by Lynx Telematics, that eliminates Texting and Driving, Speeding, Distracted Driving and monitors seat belt usage, mechanical failures and allows a parent to set up geo fencing, please contact Vincent Rush of Lynx Telematics at or directly at (513) 965-6318 For more information, contact Vincent Rush at or (513) 965-6318

Monday, August 20, 2012

Taxes, Lawsuits & Telematics: Savings through Documentation

From fuel tax rebates to IFTA calculations and beyond, the proof is in the telematics data  

By Bud Sims
Director of Construction and Mining

Every contractor knows the value of telematics for squeezing waste out of fleet operations, but there’s more to the savings story than improving asset allocation, optimizing preventive maintenance scheduling, or identifying wasteful fuel and/or idling practices. In a series of benefits unrelated to fleet management, telematics systems can also help maximize off-road fuel tax reimbursements, streamline IFTA filings and other regulatory reporting, combat idling penalties, and even thwart lawsuits for breaching the boundaries of a job site. 

The reason is simple: data.

In a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone scenario, the same data collected to deliver core telematics functionality also supplies a complete audit trail of equipment utilization by location. Built-in telematics capabilities such as GPS asset tracking and geofencing that defines the perimeter of each job site or work zone combine to provide detailed documentation that is difficult or in some cases impossible to acquire from any other source.

That documentation problem recently cost one California contractor nearly $4,000 in quarterly off-road fuel tax credits for clear fuel used across its 200-machine fleet. The State Board of Equalization rejected the firm’s rebate request because it was based on a guesstimate of the fleet’s off-highway use. With no way to prove the amount of fuel qualifying for the 18-cent-per-gallon diesel rebate, the contractor came up empty-handed.

With telematics, that proof would have been available with a few clicks, and the firm would have added $4,000 to its bottom line.

Data needed for this and other non-operations-related purposes can be quickly retrieved from standard or custom telematics reports, or automatically exported to third-party services that specialize in various types of government claims filing. This saves time, eliminates guesswork, and provides irrefutable evidence of how equipment was used in the field for various tax, regulatory and legal applications.

1 – Off-road fuel tax rebates
As just mentioned, for example, telematics data facilitates tax refund or credit requests for undyed fuel that is used off-highway. Contractors are entitled to reimbursements of up to 35 cents per gallon, depending on the state, because off-road use does not contribute to the costs of planning, constructing and maintaining publicly funded roadways for which fuel taxes are earmarked. But many firms do not even try to recoup these costs because they lack easily accessible information on off-road use, the reporting is too onerous to justify the effort or both.

Telematics solves the problem with site utilization reports that show precisely where each asset is deployed and for how long, leveraging the geofencing feature of the telematics system. The total off-road time for any given quarter can be calculated by adding the hours of all construction equipment on all job sites. Third-party fuel management systems that quantify fuel burn can further validate the calculations.

In addition, advanced telematics systems that track both on-and off-road vehicle use in the same application can compute off-road use of on-road vehicles such as generators and telephone repair trucks by monitoring functions like PTO and hydraulics. With this capability, you can augment the size of your rebate by ensuring that every asset involved in off-road activities is included in the calculation.

2 – IFTA mileage tax reporting 
For contractors that cross state lines in moving equipment from job to job, another tax-related use for telematics involves the compilation of quarterly IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) reports designed to ensure that each state receives its proper share of taxes for miles traveled on its roads. Since these reports require information on mileage driven in each jurisdiction, it is necessary to know that your low-beds traveled 500 miles in California and 250 miles in Arizona (or whatever) for the quarter.

This information can be easily determined from the data captured by the GPS-based telematics tracking devices installed in each asset. The raw telematics data can be delivered electronically to your firm’s third-party IFTA tax service for processing and report preparation, eliminating the need to maintain and share trip sheets. This reduces overhead for drivers as well as clerical staff, prevents manual recording or data entry errors, provides an auditable data trail, and streamlines IFTA reporting overall.

3 – Idling penalty avoidance 
In the more than 30 states with anti-idling policies on the books, telematics data can also help keep the idling ‘police’ at bay by monitoring equipment idle times. In California, for example, idling a diesel-powered machine for more than five minutes can cost $300 per occurrence or up to $10,000 for a machine with multiple violations. Having the data to nip the problem in the bud, or fight an undeserved penalty, can help avoid fines as well as trim fuel expenses.

One source of this information is the telematics dashboard. Typically, idling rates can be seen in real time across the entire fleet and flagged with visual indicators when levels exceed user-defined thresholds. Some dashboards also allow users to dynamically drill down to idle activity by vehicle. If there is a spotter enforcing anti-idling regulations on the job site, the job foreman or other personnel can use this information to intercede before excessive idle times lead to a fine.

Longer-term idling patterns can be seen in telematics idle reports that document idle start and end times, duration and location for each asset. This information can be used to modify operator behavior and avoid future penalties.

4 – Lawsuit protection 
Another area where telematics data can save contractors money above and beyond core fleet management functions involves averting fines and lawsuits associated with violations of leaseholder or government boundaries. In one recent case, for example, a mining operation was fined more than $2 million over a two-month period for inadvertently digging outside its leased property line. In other situations, contractors are subject to reprisals for infringing on environmentally sensitive areas like wetlands located adjacent to or even within a job site. 

Telematics-based geofencing can save the day by making it possible to issue an alert if a forbidden boundary is crossed. Geofences can be established around a job site, work zone or within a larger geofence if an off-limits area lies within the work site. Geofence reports can also defend a contractor against unjustified trespassing accusations by proving that equipment operators did not cross invisible boundary lines.   

Capabilities like these can substantially extend the value of a telematics investment by reducing tax and regulatory paperwork, lowering the risk of penalties and fines, and even creating revenue from off-road fuel tax rebates. It’s not the primary driver behind a telematics deployment, but it’s a major fringe benefit that can reduce the cost of doing business and – in some cases – keep contractors out of trouble.

Insurance telematics could "flip the underwriting model on its head"!

Your insurance provider may soon be asking for access to your telematics data. What’s in it for you?
By: James Menzies of “Truck News” 2012-08-20 

Insurance brokers and providers may soon be asking fleets for access to their telematics data, in an effort to provide more accurate insurance pricing and to help fleets better utilize that data.
It’s a bold new approach that’s already happening in other parts of the world, including Europe and Australia. Here in Canada, Industrial Alliance made waves earlier this year, when it launched a program in Quebec that allowed young drivers to install data recorders in their car and then pay premiums based on their specific driving habits.

Truck News has learned that the concept – sometimes referred to as Pay How You Drive or Pay As You Drive – will soon be rolled out to the Canadian trucking industry. Insurers realize telematics provides the basis for a more accurate means of underwriting risk. Today, brokers and insurers collect the same old data (such as CVOR and CSA scores as well as a five-year claims history) to determine premiums. But insurers have come to realize that basing premiums on past claims isn’t the best way to do things. For starters, it doesn’t address those fleets that employ risky drivers but have avoided accidents through sheer luck.

Using telematics, insurance providers will be able to identify risky driving behavior that will most likely result in accident over time and can push a fleet to intervene with offending drivers and address unsafe behavior before that accident occurs. Insurers who tap into their customers’ telematics data will be looking for information on speed, hard braking, abrupt lane changes and rapid acceleration, among other risky behaviors.

“From an underwriting standpoint, it flips the underwriting model on its head,” Scott Cober, vice-president, national leader with Marsh Canada’s trucking practice told Truck News in an interview. “It becomes more of a predictive underwriting model.”

At the very least, using telematics to determine insurance pricing will allow insurers to charge premiums that better reflect a fleet’s likelihood of being involved in a crash. But ideally, insurance providers will use that valuable information to alert a fleet to worrisome trends and encourage interventions before such accidents even occur.

“Fleet insurance underwriters currently review driver abstracts for tickets and look at accidents to assess a high-risk driver in the fleet,” Cober explained. “A fleet’s risky drivers may not be the ones with tickets or accidents, but those who are trending towards bad behaviors on the road – making unsafe lane changes, cornering at high speeds, etc. These drivers are potentially your future accidents and claims. The driver behavior data (collected through telematics) will help safety managers prevent accidents before they happen.”

In most cases, insurers will be able to tap into data collected by existing and widely used telematics systems. Other programs may encourage fleets to invest in specific real-time monitoring and coaching systems such as those that alert drivers to risky behaviors in the cab as they occur, while also sending reports to the fleet manager. Some “Live View” systems feature an in-cab camera that captures video of what transpired in the moments immediately before and after a risky maneuver occurred. In-cab camera technology provides insurers with a useful tool when trying to reconstruct an accident or determine who was at fault.

“We’re using that not only as a behavioral tool, but as a claims tool,” Cober said. “For the first time, we’re gaining insight into what happened and we’re seeing drivers become exonerated from the claim. I think video is going to have a fundamental change on the whole claims process. A fleet can say ‘My driver wasn’t at fault, he was cut off by this driver,’ and on the reverse side, he may know the driver was at fault right away and from the insurance standpoint we can set the reserve up and get ready to pay the claim.”

Some fleets, naturally, will be reluctant to share their telematics data with their insurer. But insurance companies insist fleets have plenty to gain by doing so. This applies both to safe fleets (because they’ll pay premiums that better reflect the skills of their driving force) as well as unsafe fleets (because their insurer will work with them to identify unsafe practices and provide corrective training measures proactively).

“The safest fleets are already being very proactive and are more advanced than the other fleets,” Cober said. “But if you have claims, there’s an issue with your drivers on the road. Fleets that want to improve and become more efficient will turn to technology. To be competitive in this marketplace going forward, those fleets are going to have to do this.”

It’s likely that such programs will be voluntarily, at least initially. But don’t rule out the possibility of an insurance provider requiring the use of telematics for fleets with frequent claims.

“I can see possibly in the future, if a fleet cannot control its claims, that an insurer will say ‘We will insure you, but you need to put these measures in’,” Cober predicted. “I can see insurers using that as an underwriting tool.”

Zurich’s Magi says fleets she has spoken to about sharing their telematics data have so far been receptive, though she is quick to point out Zurich insures mostly large fleets with high US exposure, and the majority of those carriers already employ and understand the benefits of collecting and analyzing telematics data.

“I have never had a customer say ‘I’m not giving you the data you need’,” Magi said. “If anything, they’re asking ‘How can you help me analyze this information so I can utilize it better?’ What telematics does is it gives you a granular view of what’s happening with each particular driver and vehicle on a daily basis. You’re going to see a picture there. Insurers are going to see there is something there and it’s to the customer’s benefit to be able to speak with an educated risk services representative who’s going to be able to dig deeper and find out where the big issues are.”

Eventually, insurance providers may look to provide insight into the operational side of a fleet’s business, in ways that extend beyond managing driver behavior. As an example, Magi foresees an opportunity to assist with route planning. Insurers may look at a carrier’s lanes and then suggest a route that avoids litigious states or areas where there are weather-related risks at certain times of the year. Carriers would then be faced with the decision of taking the most direct route and possibly paying a higher premium, or a safer route that will provide insurance savings. All this while meeting the demands of the shipper, which in many cases will be looking for the most expedient delivery of its goods.

“Ideally in the future the technology will get to a point where you look at ‘What is the safest route to get to a point?’ and there’s a charge for that,” Magi said. “If you (as an insurance company) have a true partnership with a customer, you’re going to sit down together and talk about this from a pure business perspective. What is the cost-benefit analysis for your operation to take this particular route versus the potential loss if you take a different route? It factors into their deductible. There are going to be customers that are going to be absolutely operations-minded and some customers will look at route utilization with a holistic approach as to how it’s going to affect their insurance.”

Magi noted insurance, in many cases, is a carrier’s third largest expense and so she expects fleets will be willing to alter their routes to lower costs.

Proponents of insurance telematics insist the data that’s collected and shared will always belong to the carrier.

“This isn’t about Zurich going in and mining information from the customers,” Magi stressed. “The customers can share this information with us if they choose to. Ideally, the purpose of what we’re trying to do is to show them how to better utilize that particular data.”

There are privacy issues, as well, to consider. Cober noted Canada’s stringent privacy laws mean insurers won’t be drilling down to assess drivers on an individual basis, but will be looking at a company’s fleet-wide performance.

“Because of the privacy laws, we are saying to trucking companies “You supply the data to your insurer in a condensed manner without giving driver names, without giving vehicle numbers, just give a holistic view of how the fleet is doing,’ and we’ll take that monthly or quarterly and what we want to see is continuous improvement,” he explained. “Canada has some pretty tough privacy rules.”

While fleet managers may see the benefit in participating in a telematics-based Pay How You Drive-type system, drivers themselves may be more resistant. Cober insisted the systems endorsed by insurers will be sophisticated enough to account for false alerts caused by other motorists.

“We know things happen on the road and it’s going to be quite common to have errors because of third-parties cutting in front (of the truck),” Cober said. He suggested fleets employing driver behavior monitoring use it to reward the best drivers rather than installing the systems for strictly punitive or corrective reasons.

“If it’s seen as a penalty or Big Brother, I think the safety culture of the company won’t flourish,” he noted. “It needs to be promoted as positive reinforcement for the drivers and to reward drivers for good behavior.”

Regardless of how drivers and fleet owners feel about sharing telematics data with their insurer, it seems inevitable. Canada is late to the party, but globally the auto insurance industry is already moving in this direction.

An Oliver Wyman Financial Services report, titled Uneven Road Ahead: Telematics Poised to Reshape Auto Industry, concluded: “As technology costs fall, privacy concerns recede and regulations become more supportive, telematics is fast moving into the mainstream and will fundamentally disrupt the auto insurance business. The threat to late adopters is real: better drivers will enroll in telematics programs, leaving behind a shrinking pool of poorer risks to the traditional insurers.”

The same could be said for trucking companies.

Cober noted that by 2017, it’s expected that new vehicles manufactured in North America will come equipped with some form of telematics hardware already installed, “making the insurance telematics process easier for consumers who may be confused on what actual hardware is required in their vehicle.”

Another objection likely to be faced by insurers is the cost of implementing the necessary technology, particularly for smaller fleets that don’t already employ some form of telematics. But Cober said the cost of the technology is rapidly dropping and the potential savings extend beyond lower insurance costs, delivering a quick payback.

“Traditionally, only the big fleets could afford the technology. But because the technology costs have been dropping, we’re beginning to see the middle market fleets – the fleets with 10-50 power units – can now afford this technology and can see the return on investment,” he said.

Because telematics can improve driver behavior and address bad habits like rapid acceleration and hard braking as well as speeding, Cober said many fleets are realizing fuel savings of 5-10% when employing a telematics system that monitors driver behavior.

“We’re seeing fleets that in the first three to six months, are seeing their investment returned,” Cober said.

And for fleets that proactively monitor and address poor driving habits, the insurance savings will also be tangible, he noted. While premium reductions are generally a reward for lower claims costs achieved over a period of time, Cober said it’s possible insurers will provide some up-front savings for fleets that enroll in a telematics program.

And when fleets discover the additional savings that are achievable by analyzing their telematics data with some help from their insurance provider, Magi said the idea will become an easier sell.
“At the end of the day, really, they’re truckers,” she said. “They want to be able to move freight and run their business. They’re not actuaries that deal with statistics. If we can provide them with the tools and solutions that make it easier for them to very quickly analyze (data) and see a problem, we’ve done them a huge benefit but we’ve also done our bottom line a benefit as well.”

- The above feature article appears in the September issues of Truck News and Truck West

Re-posted by Vincent Rush of VP of Business Development for Lynx Telematics.

Lynx Telematics is a Cincinnati based OEM of Telematic technology and provider of the Geo Tab product along with patented “Anti Texting and Web Browsing” technology for fleet based companies.

Lynx Telematics is also the innovator and pioneer of the Lynx Safe Teen Driving Monitor that grants parents real-time data on their teenagers driving habits while blocking and disabling texting and driving.

For more information, contact Vincent Rush at (513) 965-6318 or by email at

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lynx Telematics Signs Another Major Contract

Lynx Telematics, in Cincinnati, Ohio recently has signed a deal to partner and provide services to an industrial company that employs a fleet of more than 700 trucks and is the number 3 company in their industry.

It was learned through conversations after the decision had been made to work exclusively with Lynx Telematics, that this was the 4th test pilot that the company had been through over the past 3 years.
The reasons sited for making their decision were the complexity and robustness of the solutions we provided as well as the customer service and attention to detail that we demonstrated while servicing the test pilot program.

Vice President of Business Development, Vincent Rush, who handled the account from inception to delivery, explains the process and what led to the acquisition;

We began by picking a total of 16 large box trucks in two different locations.
Location A had 9 trucks on pilot while location B had 7.

Before we began stage one, we crafted a team “Roll Out” letter to the employees explaining the purpose installing this technology.

We called the program “The Safe Driving and Operational Efficiency Program”. One of the problems with many telematics projects, is failure to properly implement the program. That not only takes into consideration the explanation of why, but when, how and the name of the project.

The main objectives of the program were, safety compliance, reduction in fuel consumption, lowering insurance costs and allowing drivers to earn more through improved route efficiency.

The telematics landscape is littered with programs gone wrong, due to an improper roll out with unclear expectations.

When dealing with employees, it is very important to make sure team members see the project as a good thing for the company and not a “Covert Spying Project”.

This has always been one of our specialties and what differentiates us from many of our competitors.
There is a big difference in building a successful and sustainable telematics company and simply selling telematics devices.

Phase 1 of our program consisted of setting up our “plug and play” system in the trucks and then monitoring and collecting data for the Operations Manager for a period of 2 weeks.

During this time period we focused on idling time and discovered that each truck would idle an average of 8:30 per stop or an average of 7 hours per week, per truck.

It was during this phase that we were able to show, that by getting control of the idling time, we could reduce the company’s annual fuel expense of approximately $9 Million dollars by a conservative $720,840, using just one element of savings.

In phase two we split the locations and the fleet into two separate groups.

One with audible alerts for idling over 3 minutes and the other location, with only 6 trucks, without audible alerts.

The results were staggering!!!!

Location 1 accumulated a total of 280.5 hours with 9 trucks for an average of 1:52 per stop, while Location 2 with 3 fewer trucks, totaled 592 hours for an average of 6:12 per stop.

We were able to show our client an estimated annual savings in fuel expense, based on idling alone, of $902,415 or roughly 10% of their annual fuel budget.

We didn’t stop there.

The next phase of our test pilot was a meeting with their insurance company.
Not only did we get a verbal estimate of $75,000 dollars in annual savings, we received an endorsement from the company as well.

With an additional estimated savings of $129,600 in maintenance expenses we were able to show our client a projected annual savings of $1.1 million or $3.3 over the next 3 years.

Sure, these numbers are great and alone they should be enough to help any company pull the trigger on making the investment into telematics.

We also added the ability to monitor texting and driving through our partnership with ZoomSafer. In fact, 3 days before our final meeting, one of the company drivers was ticketed for texting while driving.

However, for a company that has been down the road with 3 other test pilots, all lasting 90-120 days, the real thing that sealed the deal, after only 52 days, was our level of customer service and attention to detail for the client.

Lynx Telematics did not simply install a bunch of units and accumulate data for us”
commented the company Fleet Operations Manager. “They actually took personal responsibility and helped us manage and understand what the data was telling us.”

Lynx also monitored our fleets ECM data and alerted us to possible mechanical issues as they were happening. That alone saved us thousands in productivity and lost product.”

“When I wanted reports or samples of data, my Account Manager, Vincent Rush, didn’t just email it to me, he hand delivered it and explained how the data was presented. They were the most thorough company we had tested.”

“What has really impressed us to this point is that now that we are partnered with Lynx, we are still getting help and attention, like we did in the testing phase. Very impressive level of service from a telematics company”

For more information or an analysis on how Lynx Telematics can help your company fleet reduce operating expenses, improve safety compliance and productivity while reducing risk liability, contact Vincent Rush at (513) 965-6318 or

Monday, August 6, 2012

Crash survivor preaches dangers of texting while driving

By Ron Recinto | The Lookout – Fri, Aug 3, 2012

Chance Bothe knows firsthand the dangers of texting and driving.

The Texas man typed this message to a friend while driving home from college earlier this year, “I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident and then how would you feel …”

A few seconds later, Bothe’s pickup veered off a bridge and dropped down a 35-foot-deep ravine.
KHOU-TV reports he suffered extensive injuries including a broken neck, a punctured lung, and a fractured face, which would later require extensive reconstruction. He had to learn to walk again, the station reports.

“I’m very lucky that I’m not gone forever,” Bothe, 21, told KHOU-TV on his last day of a six-month rehabilitation in Houston. “I still have things to do in this world.”

One of the first things he’s doing is spreading the word of the dangers of texting and driving.

“They just need to understand, don’t do it. Don’t do it. It’s not worth losing your life,” he said. “I went to my grandmother’s funeral not long ago. And I kept thinking, it kept jumping into my head: ‘I’m surprised that’s not me in that casket.’ I came very close to that. To being gone forever.”

Texting while driving is banned in 39 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Texas does not have a statewide ban on texting while driving. However texting while driving is banned in some municipalities and school zones in the state.

Bothe promised to spread the word about the dangers of texting while behind the wheel so that others can learn from his mistake.

“What people have told me is the reason God didn’t keep you away from this Earth is because you have something special to do,” he told KHOU. And I believe what is special is that I should tell everyone not to text message and drive.”

Re-posted by Vincent Rush of Lynx Telematics

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Insurer: Letting us spy on your driving cuts premiums!

By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY 

If you thought devices that voluntarily spy on your driving might be a passing fad, think again: One big insurer says it’s finding that such systems are more than two-and-a-half times as good as traditional methods at predicting accidents.

Progressive Insurance just released a finding based on the program it introduced a year go that finds “loss costs” for the drivers with the highest-risk driving behaviors are about two and a half times higher than those for drivers with the lowest-risk behavior.

Though it has tried “usage-based” insurance programs for years, Progressive introduced a system called Snapshot last year in which drivers are sent a small device that plugs into their cars and relays information about their driving habits. The insurer says it measures the time of day the car is driven, distance driven, and how many hard brakes per mile the driver makes. Other insurers, such as State Farm and GMAC, also have similar programs.

As a result, Progressive says it has found that 70% of drivers who have signed up for its Snapshot program pay less for their insurance than they did before the program began:

They are saving an average of $150 a year. It’s offering to let any driver give the program a 30-day tryout, not just its own customers, to see if they will save money in the 42 states in which it is offered. Progressive officials say they want to prove that good drivers are paying unnecessarily high premiums based on the risk they present to insurers.

“For most, the rates they’re paying are higher than the risk they actually present –- and in many cases, much higher,” says Progressive CEO Glenn Renwick in a statement.
Re-posted by Vincent Rush of Lynx Telematics

Insurance companies want to take the lead in marketing and managing UBI services. It makes sense since they already have familiar brands as well as the customer base. Most important, they are the ones with relationships with state regulators, keeping track of the myriad regulations and requirements of individual states.

A Company in Cincinnati, Lynx Telematics has developed a device called the Lynx Safe Teen Driving Monitor that can not only provide insurance companies with a UBI telematics device, but is the first of its kind to give parents “real-time” parental control and live monitoring of their teens driving habits, while at the same time, preventing texting and driving.

Vincent Rush, President of Business Development for Lynx Telematics, commented in Nashville recently that, “While we realize that quality and integrity of data is paramount in the UBI market, we also saw a gigantic void. Many insurance companies have the programs, however parents really have no control over their children’s driving habits, until the company reports back to them. We wanted to bring, not only savings to a parent, but peace of mind as well. As a parent, I don’t want to receive a report about my kids poor driving habits, 3 days after their funeral. I want to know the instant my teen is getting careless. I’ve already had one personal experience and I don’t care to have another”

With the LynxSafe telematic device, Mom & Dad are now, figuratively in the front passenger seat with their teen driver from the moment they pull out of the driveway”. Rush went on to say that, “Our single user interface model allows Mom and Dad to set parameters as well as receiving immediate text alert and emails when their son or daughter is speeding, driving radically, or in any type of accident as well as experiencing any mechanical break down.”
For more information on the LynxSafe Device and Lynx Telematics, contact Vincent Rush at (513) 965-6318 or

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What Are Your Reason for Using Telematics?

What Are Your Reasons For Using Telematics?

A recent Automotive Fleet article entitled “Fleet’s Brave New World,” states that “technology, in the form of telematics solutions, is the way many fleets are looking to manage their operations more efficiently. In fact, telematics/GPS is the most widely used management technology.”  That being said, what do you think are the top reasons for using telematics among businesses?

While controlling fuel expenses may be at the forefront of your mind, according to a survey mentioned in the article, improving driver behavior is a bigger priority, with fuel savings following close behind. Additional reasons include: route productivity, accident reduction and sustainability initiatives. While these are all important reasons for using telematics, what’s really motivating businesses to adopt a telematics solution?

According to the article, the need for increased fleet efficiency is the primary reason for implementing a telematics solution and according to the author “telematics are playing a key role in improving fleet processes.” How?

With a GPS fleet tracking solution, businesses can automate their processes and monitor driver behavior, helping reduce overhead costs like labor, insurance and maintenance. Reporting features enable businesses to track hours worked and schedule routine maintenance for their vehicles. With improving driver behavior as the number one reason for using telematics, Speed Alerts and Speed Reports can help fleet managers determine their aggressive drivers so that they can take corrective action.

And for those who want to control their fleet’s fuel expenditure, with a GPSfleet management solution, businesses can monitor their fleets’ fuel usage and eliminate wasteful fuel practices like idling through Idle Reports. And because less idling means less harmful emissions, fleet managers will be able to scratch going green off their list.

So, what are your reasons for using telematics?

 Re-posted by Vincent Rush of Lynx Telematics in Cincinnati Ohio. Lynx Telematics is the developer of the Lynxsafe Teen Driving Monitor that allows parents of teen drivers to eliminate texting and driving by their teen drivers while at the same time, ensuring safe driving habits by monitoring speed, seat belt usage, driving habits and mechanical failures.

For more information, contact Vincent Rush at or (513) 965-6318

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Telematics and Customized UBI Business Models

Susan Kuchinskas looks at open niches within the lucrative UBI space

According to Towers Watson research, insurers representing 60 percent of the personal auto insurance market have implemented a version of a UBI program in at least one state. Many more are running or preparing to run internal UBI pilots. And Ptolemus Group forecasts more than 100 million vehicles will be insured with telematics globally by 2020, generating premiums of approximately $60 billion.

The advantages for consumers and insurers are clear: More accurate ratings of risk factors will lead to lower claims and lower premiums for safe drivers. Technical barriers to these offerings are minimal, but the industry will need to appease consumers and regulators.

Pay-as-you-drive solutions

Many US insurers offer pay-as-you-drive (PAYD), also called usage-based insurance (UBI). This option is available in the majority of states. These plans use a plug-in device to measure actual miles driven: The less you drive, the less you pay for insurance.

Progressive’s PAYD program, SnapShot, provides a free device that drivers plug into their cars for six months; after that, they send it back and the rate based on miles driven is finalized. State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save program uses OnStar to validate mileage, and it just inked a similar deal to let consumers transmit mileage info via Ford Sync.

Because insurance rates have long used driver-reported mileage as one rating factor for evaluating risk and setting rates, PAYD is a relatively easy product to get approved by state regulators. Each state in the US regulates auto insurance independently. (For more on US state regulation, see Insurance telematics: US state regulators tackle UBI [2].) It also makes sense to consumers, because they’re used to this metric. And it doesn’t raise privacy concerns.

Pay-how-you-drive schemes

Things get more interesting, and potentially more lucrative, when insurers use additional ratings factors that allow them to better calculate an individual driver’s risk. Telematics devices incorporating accelerometers and other sensors can provide accurate information about driving style that could impact a consumer’s risk profile. So-called pay-how-you-drive (PHYD) schemes use a variety of factors, including speed, time of day, braking, acceleration and cornering, to paint a more accurate picture.

State Farm’s PHYD plan is called In-Drive, and it uses a device created by Hughes Telematics. In-Drive has rolled out in Illinois and Utah, with more states in the offing. “Obviously, mileage is a good predictor,” says Dick Luedke, spokesman for State Farm. “The more miles you drive, the more likely it is you’re going to file a claim.”

State Farm did quite a bit of testing to find what other factors would be most useful for rating an individual’s risk by installing the devices in the cars of associates across the nation. The secret sauce, of course, is the algorithm each insurer uses to weigh all these factors. Each firm guards them as trade secrets. Luedke says drily, “I doubt we’d be too specific.”

Simply gathering data from telematics devices is not that difficult. Doug VanDagens, director, Connected Services Solutions at Ford Motor Company, says that, while the agreement with State Farm calls for only transmitting mileage information, Ford already can technically accommodate transmission of any metric needed for PHYD. In fact, Ford’s Crew Chief product for fleets, powered by Telogis, provides information on braking, acceleration, maintenance warnings and more.

“Anything happening in the vehicle, we can communicate outside of it,” VanDagens says. It’s easier and cheaper to do so via Sync, he points out, because Sync uses the driver’s cell phone for connectivity. “We can provide all of that relatively easily, as soon as insurance companies want to set up the programs.”

Insurance companies want to take the lead in marketing and managing UBI services. It makes sense since they already have familiar brands as well as the customer base. Most important, they are the ones with relationships with state regulators, keeping track of the myriad regulations and requirements of individual states.

A Company in Cincinnati, Lynx Telematics has developed a device called the Lynx Safe Teen Driving Monitor that can not only provide insurance companies with a UBI telematics device, but is the first of its kind to give parents “real-time” parental control and live monitoring of their teens driving habits, while at the same time, preventing texting and driving.

Vincent Rush of Lynx Telematics discusses the LynxSafe Teen Driving Monitor

Vincent Rush, President of Business Development for Lynx Telematics, commented in Nashville recently that, “While we realize that quality and integrity of data is paramount in the UBI market, we also saw a gigantic void. Many insurance companies have the programs, however parents really have no control over their children’s driving habits, until the company reports back to them. We wanted to bring, not only savings to a parent, but peace of mind as well. As a parent, I don’t want to receive a report about my kids poor driving habits, 3 days after their funeral. I want to know the instant my teen is getting careless. I’ve already had one personal experience and I don’t care to have another”

With the LynxSafe telematic device, "Mom & Dad are now, figuratively in the front passenger seat with their teen driver from the moment they pull out of the driveway”. Rush went on to say that, “Our single user interface model allows Mom and Dad to set parameters as well as receiving immediate text alert and emails when their son or daughter is speeding, driving radically, or in any type of accident as well as experiencing any mechanical break down.”

The manage-how-you-drive model

As consumers get more comfortable with these products, they may shrug off the Big Brother warnings and embrace the manage-how-you-drive (MHYD) model. With MHYD, drivers get feedback that helps them improve and potentially lower their rates.

American Family Insurance says its Teen Safe Driver Program has helped teens reduce risky driving behaviors by 70 percent. The program includes a free in-car device attached to the review mirror. When incidents like extreme braking, cornering, and accelerating too fast—as well as actual crashes—take place, it saves eight seconds of footage prior to the mishap and the four seconds after it. The information is transmitted wirelessly to American Family’s data center for review by driver coaches.

Parents get a weekly driver report card that measures the teen’s performance against safe driving objectives and peer averages. They can log in to see the report, watch video of incidents, and get tips for safer driving that they can share with the kid.

State Farm’s In-Drive, created by Hughes Telematics and currently offered only in the US states of Utah and Illinois, provides an entrĂ©e for State Farm into stronger customer relationships and value-added services competitive with OnStar and motor clubs. It offers one-touch emergency response, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location assistance, vehicle diagnostic alerts and maintenance reminders, plus parental monitoring tools for location services and speed alerts.

It also includes the MHYD program, Drive Safe & Save. In-Drive will provide driving performance data, and the customer’s savings will be based on mileage, turns, acceleration, braking, speed and time of day vehicle is operated.

New revenue streams

While State Farm will provide discounts on rates of up to 50 percent for the safest, lowest-mileage consumers, In-Drive also represents an opportunity for new, recurring revenue streams. The service offers four subscription levels with additional services like stolen vehicle assistance, emergency calling and alerts for events like speeding, with subscription fees from $7 to $22 per month.

Tim Moroney, insurance regulatory attorney with the law firm of Barger & Wolen LLP, thinks these services can help insurers get off the rate-cutting treadmill. “Personalized automotive insurance is very competitive,” Moroney says. “While cheaper premiums are usually the biggest hook, [by coupling services with telematics] you can offer more things. Insurers are now offering concierge benefits. They can do all things automotive and be very creative.”

Insurers could take it even further by offering classes, content, applications and third-party offers. The strategy could be similar to that used by health maintenance organizations that provide weight-loss and smoking cessation classes to members. (For more on new sources of revenue, see Consumers and UBI: The power of value-added services [3] and Telematics and UBI: How to increase consumer acceptance [4].)

Says Frederic Bruneteau, managing director of Ptolemus Consulting Group, “Thanks to insurance telematics, the insurer can become an insurance service provider. Today, the notion of insurance is, ‘They take your money and then you hear from them if you have a problem.’ With telematics, they have a real-time relationship with any policy holder.”

Susan Kuchinskasis a regular contributor to TU.