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Coverbox using “17th century” underwriting practices

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Telematics based car insurer Coverbox is set to head “back to the 17th century” after an acquisition of the company.

The acquisition promises to bring about change to the company, with the new owners planning to introduce new insurance rating and charging processes aimed at moving away from the “one price fits each demographic” model.

The company said it’s latest technological development for underwriting insurance is reminiscent of underwriting practices 300 years ago, when insurers would sit in dockside coffee houses to assess the risk value of each and every ship leaving the port according to cargo, rout, season, state of repair and the level of experience of the captain.

As part of the changes new offices will be opened in Billingham and Peterborough, but they will be staffed with employees from the current Portsmouth presence.

Managing Director Johan van der Merwe said, “Coverbox is a telematics-based insurer – we basically monitor and assess the driving behaviour of the vehicle user via on-board technology which enables us to provide a much more accurate rate, and a very specific understanding of risk.

The amount of information we gather from devices installed in customers’ vehicles – time and location of journeys, driver behaviour during those journeys and so on – means that we are in a position to develop much more bespoke insurance products, personalised to specific drivers.

He also said that with the technology well-behaved driver will be rewarded for their low risk driving.

The fear of ‘big-brother’ style information gathering would not be an issue for customers, Van der Merwer added.

Even just a few years ago, people were wary – and a little scared – of the amount of ‘Big Brother’ information gathered about them, but the younger generations in particular recognise the benefits of person-specific information gathering, and are largely unworried by how their lives are monitored.

As attitudes change from resistance to change to demand for change, the opportunity for the insurance industry to drive efficiencies, gain trust and develop new products grows.”

Coverbox Limited acquired the Coverbox business asset from technology company Wunelli.

Coverbox pay-as-you-drive insurance allows drivers to take out comprehensive cover paid for by the mile, with the price per mile varying according to the time of the day or night: off-peak, peak or “super-peak” times.