More than just a tracking service

The fleet management and insurance space is about to undergo an unprecedented change. With modern advancements in vehicle telematics, it’s no longer enough to use this technology just for stolen vehicle recovery capabilities. It’s time to optimise fleet management and insurance offerings by utilising the full capacity of a vehicle tracking system.

Organisations that have had stolen vehicle recovery tracking devices in their fleet vehicles for years, understand the value of tracking services better than most. Some have taken these services to the next level to gain business insights and proactively manage their fleet, using data collected to monitor for efficiencies and cost optimisation.

However, this is just the first step in the bigger picture. Some fleet managers have gone a step further, including a video camera solution in their vehicles to monitor actual driving behaviour for health and safety purposes. A video camera module allows early detection of bad driving habits and associated risks can be identified swiftly and steps can be taken to engage in proactive and targeted driver coaching. The end result is a reduction in on-road risk and ultimately safer roads for all to travel on.

Historically, insurance companies have mitigated their risk by encouraging business owners and consumers to install stolen vehicle recovery tracking units. But even here we are seeing a shift in mind-set. Behavioural based solutions are now offered by insurers as a tool to improve driver behaviour and for clients to build their own individual profile. As a result, we expect the behavioural based solutions part of the industry to grow at a rate of 12 percent per annum, particularly in the small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) space.

Nevertheless, this is still the tip of the iceberg in terms of the capabilities vehicle tracking solutions can afford.

The profile of insurance consumers is changing as rather than own a car, they are starting to adopt services like Uber and rentals. They are ready to embrace driver tracking in favour of behaviour based policies with customer-friendly pricing and a more personal approach. They would also welcome automatic emergency calling systems and protection as a service, such as receiving real-time alerts on upcoming hazards during the car journey, for example potholes or traffic at a standstill just over the hill.

As additional innovations are introduced to market, the profiles of clientele are set to change even more. Self-driving vehicles will be on our roads in the not-too-distant future. Plus, the concept of CommuterCar is already gaining traction – where a car is hired by a person for a single trip, e.g. Johannesburg to Pretoria, then hired by the next person for their trip, e.g. Pretoria to Witbank. Insurance will need to adapt accordingly, perhaps insuring per trip in the future or even insuring the person themselves based on their driving behaviour as monitored through tracking units.

These changes are not limited to the consumer market. At the end of December Uber debuted Uber Freight, and is already testing a driverless fleet in Colorado. These developments are likely to quickly dwindle the number of logistics operations employees and ultimately affect the capacity for truck drivers. Truck drivers’ jobs are secure for the foreseeable future as there are regulatory hurdles to overcome and the driverless technology works only on the highway for now. However, with modern technologies, such as retina scanners to identify the identity of a driver, it is only a matter of time before the future is here.

In fact, the flying cars in Back to The Future might be set to become reality with Mark Moore in his new role as director of engineering for aviation at Uber, working on a flying car initiative known as Uber Elevate. How might this impact fleet and insurance services? Only time will tell.

By Michael van Wyngaardt,
Head: Business Solutions at Tracker