Bad time to call?

A new survey has found that the level of mobile phone use while driving should be linked to insurance premiums.

The survey of 1,314 motor insurance policy holders was conducted by LexisNexis Risk Solutions and its UK telematics business Wunelli to determine driver opinions on how motor insurance premiums should be calculated.

It found that 60% believe avoiding any type of mobile phone use – including both text and calls – should result in lower premiums. It also found that 78% think their driving behaviours should influence policy price, with 81% saying their loyalty to insurers should be rewarded.

Selim Cavanagh, VP telematics for Wunelli, said, ‘The very basis of telematics insurance is to provide fairer premiums to motorists so that they are not paying for the poor behaviour of others and to incentivise safer driving behaviour. From our research, the vast majority of motorists understand this but there is evidently a great opportunity for insurers and brokers to consider how they can tap into this growing level of awareness and the corresponding expectations motorists have over how they should be rewarded.’

The percentage of male drivers using smartphones is nearly double that for female drivers, while younger drivers (male and female) are distracted by their smartphone more often. Drivers who use a phone hand held at the wheel almost double their risk of an accident with associated hard braking increasing by three quarters (75%), while those on hands free increase their risk by a fifth.

Selim added, ‘To satisfy this demand for fairer pricing based on actual rather than predicted driving behaviour, the insurance sector needs to break down the barriers to telematics adoption. It is one of the reasons why we have launched a 12v device that plugs into the cigarette lighter in the car and is paired with the policyholder’s smartphone.

The device communicates over Bluetooth technology with the designated smartphone app to record driving behaviour data. As well as insurance coverage, customers benefit from the charging capabilities of the device and crash reporting, compelling consumer benefits which will help take telematics from niche to mainstream adoption.’