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Black Box Insurance Epic FailBlack Box Insurance Epic Fail – What is the Solution?

Black box insurance epic fail  what is the solution? I have been watching the telematics market for over four years now and it seemls to use the parlance that the young driver target market use, black box insurance seems to be an epic fail.

What appeared to be an opportunity to revolutionise and transform the whole of the car insurance industry has infact become a beached floundering whale that is being flayed by the very people that it is trying to attract.

On social media young drivers are venting their spleeen with regards to telematics tracking and making their thoughts known in no uncertain terms.

This is the last thing that telematics insurance needs, to be lambasted by the very people that should be eagerly adopting this new technology and spreading the word to the population at large of the benefits that this form of insurance can bring. Young drivers should be the ambassadors of change in the modern motoring world heralding a new and radical way of thinging about the way we drive, instead they are following in the footsteps of those before them in being only concerned about the restrictions that they feel are imposed on them and the lack of street cred that driving with a black box brings.


This is the flavour of thought that has developed amongst young drivers towards black box insurance, the very ones that insurers are trying to attract, meaning telematics is already facing an image crisis. Early adoption of the black box has been received negatively, many young drivers complaining of the intrusive, ‘big brother’ nature of the device. Allied to the fact that they achieve a “loss of street cred” caused by installing a black box in the first place and this with constantly have to remain within the speed limit becomes intolerable for many.

58% of young drivers view black box negatively

32% of young drivers find black box to be invasive

26% of young drivers find black box invasive leading to a loss of street cred

And this is the initial target market for this form of insurance. 58% negative rating after four years, if that is not an epic fail i don’t know what is.

It does not have to be this way though, if this technology were to be implemented in a more positive, rewarding and unobrtusive way it would be more readily adopted.

The problem with changing the present telematics model is that many of the early providers have invested a lot of time and money to create their own telematics product which is not compatable with that of other insurers and does not provide a driver with the opportunity to transfer their driving score to another insurer. As each provider uses differing algorythms to calculate drivers scores, there is no compatability.

Until that is acheived there can be no mass adoption of this form of  life saving insurance (1million dead 20million injured telematics can stop the carnage) insurance and this opportunity will go a begging as the telematics will remains a niche young drivers market.

What is the Solution?

  •  Firstly, there has to be a globally recognised standard for data collection and scoring that is transferable between companies and countries. This standard has to provide irrefutable proof that a drivers score is a true and absolute reflection of  how each individual drives. (As it stands there is a wide disparity in scoring between differing devices)
  • Secondly, there has to be a simple system that is able to be used across all platforms that is simple to understand, helpful and able to enhance and encourage safe driving, with a reward and gamification aspect that will entertain and reward safe driving
  • Lastly, the scoring system has to be seen as a genuine level of achievement and rewarded as such. For drivers who achieve and maintain a consistently high level of scoring 95%+ they should be rewarded by a high level of reduction e.g. 70% as to fully reward them and have this as a target to aspire to, with a decreasing sliding scale that reflects individual scores.
    I envisage a system that could potentially solve the problem

    I envisaged that within the next 5 years that black box will have changed so radically that it will become eagerly accepted by all sensible drivers.

    BMW Head Up Display

    I know that the technology is available to produce this system however, the will is lacking. The various pieces of the technology to put it all together are already on the market however, they have just not been brought together yet.

    The system that I envisage is Black Box Green Line and I believe that it could be normal everyday driving aid as useful as your speedometer. It would revolutionise the driving experience, becoming you driving buddy not “big brother” sitting on your shoulder.  It could come with a multitude of enhanced services brought to you in a head up display that is non invasive and non distracting.

    Black Box Green Line – How it Works

    Every motorway, road, street and lane in the UK has a “mean driving line”. That is an imaginary line on the road that represents the safest place  to be on that road at the appropriate speed that is indicated for that section of road.

    Every car could be equipped with a black box green line tracker that as you travel along the road monitors your speed and assesses it against this mean driving line, if your speed is too fast for that section the green line that is in shown as a head up display on your windscreen will begin to change from green to amber and should your speed increase the line will change from amber to red.

    Similarly if you move too far off the line in either direction be it left or right the line will thicken on the side that you are erring on and turn amber and again onto read if dangerously so. This head up display will be visible on your windscreen therefore not only will you be able to see it, your passengers will as will other road users and pedestrians.

    This green line would ensure that all drivers have to adhere to the speed and conditions for the road and would be a deterrent to speeding for many. Who would want to be driving around with a big thick red line on their windscreen indicating how poor a driver they are?

    Similarly if you are too slow a driver the green line will indicate that you have to speed up to match the road conditions.

    This is how I envisage black box insurance in the future, not as the private domain of insurers judging each driver on which ever criteria that they choose to use for their monitoring system, but a universal globally recognised system that assists, educates and trains drivers to be the best driver that they can be.

    Black Box Green Line could be normal everyday driving aid as useful as your speedometer that assists you in maintaining an optimally fuel efficient economical driving speed that ensures the safety of yourself, your passengers and other road users. The fact that it is linked to your insurance company is irrelevant as all cars will be linked, it will simply indicate to your insurance company that you conform to best driving practice.

    The technology is here already and although there are some concerns that have to be addressed, I feel that it is just the lack of will to collaborate that is not bringing all the necessary people together to make it happen.

    Perhaps some individual or group with a penchant for telematics app building will see the potential for such a system and get together to crowdfund it and  make it happen, but I will not hold my breath.

    Until then I fear an opportunity to not only control, regulate and improve driving standards worldwide will have been lost, but more importantly the opportunity to reduce the horrendous global death and injury rates goes by and nothing is done.

    I would love to hear from those involved within the industry, what is your opinion? How do you think telematics should evolve? Contact me if you wish to discuss the future of telematics.

    Thank you for reading  Black box  insurance  epic  fail