Time is right for telematics in France, Macif’s Adrien Couret told Paul Myles.

The adoption of telematics based insurance has only just begun in France and poses some very special challenges to UBI providers.

Some of the cheapest motoring insurance premiums in Europe and an industry regulator famed for its consumer protection stance has stood in the way of applying telematics to its auto industry.

Yet, now, France’s biggest volume auto insurer, Macif Assurances, has begun offering UBI products. So TU-Automotive caught up with its

director strategy, transformation and performance, Adrien Couret at Connected Car Europe 2017 to find out what has changed.

He told us: “Macif is the first car insurer to offer telematics and this is a historic opportunity to shift from the position of a single insurer to a service provider.

“We started a bit later because first we are, in Europe, the market with the lowest premiums so it’s already a very competitive market, especially as regard pricing models. The second reason is regulatory – we have a very hands-on regulator as regards privacy and there has been some situations where the regulator has told insurers they are taking too much data for the use they will be putting it to about pricing.

“I think we are now in a new era that is the beginning of a change that will be very important for the markets. We will be passing through all the phases of this technology starting with pricing which are very important for the economic models but also which do not change things from a strategy point of view. The second axis is how to position as a service provider as regard driving.”

Couret said it’s this second aspect of the technology’s potential that excites his organisation the most. He explained: “What most people think is the first interpretation of telematics exists in the evolution of pricing models. We have a different point of view. We think making pricing models evolve is just one point of the technology. Telematics is the opportunity to coach drivers and to change the relationship with the insurer. Normally, the insurer only has one or two contacts a year with the driver but when you offer driving services you are always there with the consumer while they are driving.

“Now you can develop a new relationship through coaching services, through feedback and this is especially important for both young and older people who form the two target populations for us and who are problematic for insurance today as regards claims.”

Couret also believes this approach will, ultimately, overcome the issues of working in a low-risk, low premium market. He said: “You cannot only depend on premiums in this market. You have to look at business that leverages the mid-term such as customer fidelity. We had last year a very important regulatory change in France, with the end of tacit renewals of car insurance and it made quick acceleration of all the fidelity programmes with insurers asking ‘how do I keep my fidelity rates high?’ Telematics in this service aspect could be a very interesting response because it gives to the driver something that is personalised. It also gives transparency and how the premiums are built on how if I drive better I can expect better premiums.

“Most of all, in a family context with children learning to drive, it gives parents a concrete tool to ensure their children will drive better and will be correctly insured. So this is a more indirect model based on customer retention.”

[Ins.Myles.2017.07.01]

Connected Car Insurance USA 2017

06 Sep 2017 - 07 Sep 2017, CHICAGO, USA

The Connected Car Insurance USA Conference & Exhibition is the largest and most informative forum for executives from across the connected car and auto insurance industries.