Automated German Accident Reporting Service Heralds Change in Motor Insurance
With more devices sending and receiving data while communicating with each other, the Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining more influence. For motor insurers, the development of functions that in the end might lead to a more or less automated driving and its impact on motor insurance have largely dominated the discussion in the industry. Motor insurance itself, however, has so far not been at the center of the “connected” vehicle discussion despite the moderate uptake of telematics-linked insurance products in some market segments. Nevertheless, insurers in Germany are making efforts to improve their products by using the IoT.
On April 4, 2016 German insurers launched an automated accident reporting service.1 Motor insurers can equip policyholders with a device that uses speed sensors to detect a crash. It communicates with a mobile app on the driver’s smartphone, which reports the accident and the car’s position to a call center via what is called the Trusted German Insurance Cloud (TGIC). The system then triggers a phone call so that the driver can share his or her condition with emergency responders. If the driver is unconscious or doesn’t answer, emergency responders will drive to the location of the vehicle. Car drivers will also be able to use the system to call for assistance during a breakdown.
The new service is part of the lead up to eCall – an initiative by the European Commission to get emergency assistance to drivers involved in an accident anywhere in the EU. Its goal is to help save lives by getting emergency responders faster to the scene of an accident. While European legislation makes eCall functionality obligatory only for cars developed from 2018, the German accident reporting service works for both newer and older models, be it for high-end and standard cars.
All the driver has to do is plug in the small device into a socket of his or her car like any other USB-charger (in fact it serves as one). After a one-time initialisation process it connects automatically to the driver’s mobile phone via Bluetooth. That’s it!
It is worth mentioning that the system will only collect and send data in case of an accident or a manually initiated call. It cannot be used for any other purpose like recording and analyzing driving behavior.