Telematics apps and black boxes have long been known as a way of encouraging young drivers to learn better driving habits while also helping to drive down the cost of premiums.

At Direct Line Group we work with award-winning The Floow, a UK based data analytics company who provide a telematics solution for all of our brands and motor partners. The telematics-based solution uses predictive algorithms and provides drivers with a score after each journey which based on their driving behaviours. The customers can view their scores on an app or web portal and a score is generated to indicate the risk across a number of components including contextual speed, time of day, smooth driving, road risk and more recently distraction.

However, it’s not always guaranteed that drivers regularly check their scores. To overcome this challenge, our telematics team asked Dr Lisa Dorn, Chief Education Office, at the Floow to create an innovative behavioural intervention for young drivers that would encourage engagement, help improve their scores and ultimately result in safer driving habits.

FloowCoach is a 12-week, four calls phone-based programme for drivers who score in the bottom decile. The course encourages drivers to engage with a fully trained behaviour expert coach who helps develop an action plan that includes specific goals, all mutually agreed on.

The course is theory-based and draws on a number of philosophies and models including Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory and the transtheoretical model. It uses Behavioural Change Techniques (BCTs) that are known to underpin behaviour change across hundreds of studies. FloowCoach also allows time for behaviour change to take place, provides reinforcement to support that change and develops relapse prevention strategies.

The FloowCoach programme aims to improve driving behaviours by:

Maximising the ability to regulate the drivers own behaviour by developing relevant skills (e.g. organisational skills, goal setting, score monitoring)

  • Coaching drivers to develop specific plans to change behaviour
  • Strengthen motivation to engage in the desired behaviour
  • Using techniques to develop a change of perspective about risk
  • Developing appropriate beliefs about the benefits of changing and others’ approval of their behaviour
  • Developing positive feelings about changing
  • Reducing motivation to continue with the unsafe behaviour
  • Supporting self-regulation by coaching on cues for current and desired behaviour

This innovation is proving quite unique and the latest research conducted in December 2019 shows that young drivers who did participate in the programme made overall 12.5% fewer claims. The analysis also showed that FloowCoach graduates tend to continue to improve incrementally after the programme and rarely revert to previous score levels. This suggests that longer-term behavioural changes using telematics in conjunction with Behavioural Change Techniques and telephone-based coaching can be achieved.

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Pay how you drive motor insurance

‘Pay how you drive’ motor insurance policies, often known as telematics or ‘black box’ insurance, take into account how the vehicle is used when setting the premium. This allows an insurer to offer premiums that are more tailored to the users of a vehicle than is possible with a traditional motor insurance policy.

‘Pay how you drive’ policies use GPS technology to measure how a vehicle is being driven – insurers then use this information to make judgements about driving performance. This information is considered together with other traditional risk factors, such as a driver’s age and occupation, to set premiums. ‘Safe’ drivers will usually benefit from lower premiums than ‘less safe’ drivers.

Insurers will assess driving performance in different ways, but most will consider things such as the number of miles driven, the types of roads used, and speed and braking patterns.

The technology may be in the form of a computer built into the car, it may be a small device – commonly known as a ‘black box’ – that is fitted by the insurer, or it may be a smartphone app.

For more information on ‘pay how you drive’ insurance see ‘pay how you drive’ motor insurance – ABI consumer guide (pdf 179kB), which sets out what you can expect from a ‘pay how you drive’ policy. 

The ABI has also produced a good practise guide for providers of ‘pay how you drive’ insurance to help ensure that customers are being treated fairly. The guide is voluntary, but has been developed in consultation with insurers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – which regulates the insurance industry –and the Information Commissioner’s Office, which promotes data privacy for individuals. For more information see selling telematics motor insurance policies – ABI good practice guide (pdf 270kB).  

When selecting a ‘pay how you drive’ policy, you may want to ask the provider whether they comply with the ABI’s good practice guide. If they do, you can be confident that you will be treated fairly.

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