Greater safeguards needed on telematics information
Last week saw Tom Ellis of insurance comparison website Gocompare tell The Telegraph: ‘In 10 years' time there will still be customers who prefer not to have a telematics device installed, [but] it will be an opt-out situation, rather than an opt-in.
‘There will be reasons for people opting out – perhaps because they are bad drivers, or unhappy with the privacy element, or have an old car. But they will have to accept a higher premium to insure their car.’
In response, OVL Group argues that the insurance industry needs to get its own house in order first in terms of providing transparency as to who has access to the driver information produced by the black box technology that measures everything from speed to carbon footprint of the vehicle.
‘Everyone gets the fact that insurance companies need to establish what happened at the scene of an accident to apportion blame against claim, and the need of fleet managers to be able to identify more readily the boy racers in need of some remedial driver training to keep the company’s premiums low’ said OVL managing director Martin Wedge.
‘But this is as grey an area as the grey fleet for companies, and data management in terms of who has access to that information. The insurance industry has not covered itself in glory in recent years by the routine selling on of information to accident management companies, the subject on an on-going Government enquiry,’ he warned.
'The Information Commissioners office will no doubt be watching this issue with some interest in terms who has access or "rights" to the driver information, and where that data ends up.'
He said an example would be the fleet manager, who by virtue of their position would be expected to share information with HR who manage company car policy as well as the hiring and firing of staff.
‘As far as the insurance industry is concerned, there seems to have been little to stop the selling of accident information resulting in over-inflated claims and the higher premiums we all face today.'
‘Indeed, “Big Brother in the back seat” could end up driving bad behaviour rather than good driving practice, companies could find themselves at the wrong end of hefty fines for breaches of the Data Protection Act. This would have a brand reputational impact at a time when individuals are trying to claw back personal information about themselves that has leaked into the ether through social media.’