Telematics: From Promise to Profitable Product

Telematics is no longer a niche. The technology can drive value and in the two years I spent leading a telematics program I was able to:

  • Grow adoption over 300% with independent agents
  • Redesign an end-to-end mobile app experience
  • Introduce new features and variables like distracted driving
  • Expand from nine to 39 markets, including some of the most challenging regulatory environments to get telematics approved
  • Make telematics a profitable product.

Telematics collects data from a device or vehicle to track habits like speeding, distraction and harsh braking habits. The information is used by insurance companies to adjust auto premiums and reward safe drivers with potentially lower rates.

Like me, I am sure most of you have spent their career in the insurance industry.  The ethos of the industry reinforces risk management and risk tolerance. Insurance is not traditionally an industry on the edge of emerging technology. Over the last decade, I would argue the industry has embraced technology to help solve practical business challenges. Indeed, while traditionally it was difficult to assess the damage of a roof after a hailstorm, drones and aerial imagery help solve this. With the use of artificial intelligence, a simple photo of a damaged vehicle can streamline the claims process. The growth of smartphones has provided insurance companies a new frontier to learn, test and create, and it was not until I was immersed in smartphone technology that I realized how advanced the data can be.

I became a believer in telematics…

I started and grew my career in portfolio management at a large national P&C carrier, where learning about the income statement was incredibility valuable. Working for a publicly traded company reinforced in me the value of underwriting results and constantly pushed my thinking on pricing, risk and distribution. I spent 10 years entrenched in the personal insurance ecosystem, identifying product solutions to increase profitability, building new product offerings to increase growth and managing risk and return in challenging property markets. The industry is constantly changing, and the competitors are rapidly investing, so I found new challenges and obstacles to keep me interested and growing.

When an opportunity emerged to lead telematics, I was interested, and cautiously optimistic.  I loved being in the P&L. I loved the ownership and accountability it afforded. I loved the teamwork and camaraderie that came along with working within a product line of business. At that time, I admittedly had little knowledge of what telematics was, but I saw others in the industry really investing in the technology. My objective was to take telematics from a niche offering to a deeply integrated and scaled product for our personal auto program.  I jumped in and was immediately immersed:

  • I learned how to build a mobile application.
  • I learned about all the sensors in a mobile phone and why they are important.
  • I learned about app store optimization.

Telematics is hard and can feel overwhelming.  With all of its challenges and headwinds, I saw how much value telematics can provide to customers, companies and agents.

Telematics: a niche no longer.

The science of telematics has been around now for over 30 years (yes, 30 years!) While adoption poses challenges (agents don’t want it, customers do not like it, and carriers get distracted and lose focus) the increase in data availability, customer acceptance and lower cost solutions has created a tremendous amount of growth. I do not believe telematics is niche any longer, and in fact, I love the technology and how it can drive value. The world is changing, and we are constantly seeing new partnerships, data providers, and use-cases emerge.

Come join me as we look at the past, present and future of telematic and explore how embracing this growth potential can benefit your business.

We are still early.

Email me at and let me know what you think.  Your feedback helps make this great.