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Safer driving – actions for each of us to achieve ?

By Andrew Little – decidedly ok driver (so says family Little)

From the UK Government Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency on safer driving:

‘The skills, knowledge and understanding you need to be a safe and responsible driver of a car or van. By setting out exactly what’s needed to drive safely and responsibly, it makes it clearer what’s needed to train, test and assesses drivers. These areas can then be improved over time.’

Wow!  That is quite an ask.  But who’s it for?

But not car companies, insurers or indeed telematics solution providers!  I don’t know about you, but I have to wonder, is that right?

And then, ‘Role 5’ from the same website is:

Again, wow!  I think it’s reasonable to conject that few car drivers regularly benefit from any continuous assessment on their driving performance. Regardless of whether they are driving for leisure or business. This is arguably also important, but possibly to a lesser extent, to van drivers.  But how can this be offered efficiently and effectively to promote safer driving?

Telematics of course!

Telematics technology offers driver behaviour monitoring, feedback (short and long term) and coaching opportunities.   Below is graphic representation of REDTAIL’s unique approach to this, available for insurers, fleet managers and consumers.

We researched Highways Agency data and determined that there are a far greater number of driving behaviours than the standard four so widely promoted that contribute to safe and eco driving.  For instance Redtail is currently using 15 different parameters. That insight can prompt feedback and coaching to the individual driver from insurer or fleet manager designed to have a positive impact on their responsible driving.

In the US, there is some momentum behind thoughtful driving, which appears to have a particular definition of ‘share the road responsibly, give the right of way, and do not take actions that can cause trouble or risk for others’.  However, this sentiment doesn’t seem to exist this side of the pond (but why?!).

I would argue that contemplation on how your driving can assist in making roads safer and the environment cleaner is important, and the provision of enabling technologies to achieve this is worthy of early adoption and exploitation.  And if it saves you some money along the way (whether through more economical driving or savings on your insurance premium), then what’s not to like about the idea?

Oxygen – climate change and telematics

Climate change is big news these days and is finally perforating the general public’s conscious.

We are being told by the younger generation that if we don’t act now and make drastic changes to our daily lives, sea levels will rise, extreme weather events will become the default, countless animals will become extinct and my 8 year old is convinced we will run out of oxygen by the time he is old.  He thinks old is 23.

The arguments against the science are receding faster than my hairline, so we now find ourselves in a position where we have to accept that climate change is here to stay.  There is no getting away from it.  The evidence is overwhelming.

There is a danger here though.  Being constantly bombarded by bad news on the climate with the thinly veiled accusation of ‘it’s all our fault’ is maybe true, but it doesn’t help find a solution.

Too much of the same message can lead to an acceptance and a resignation that there is nothing that can be done.  It becomes the norm.


So – lets move this argument on.  How can we fix it?   Can we fix it?  Have we got time to fix it?


Clearly one individual cannot stop climate change single handedly, although Greta Thunberg is having a good go.  However, a lot of people making small changes to their daily lives can have a big impact.  And when lots of individuals make small changes, it adds up.

What then?  I think measurement is the key.  By measuring frequently, you can see your own progress and it can keep you focussed – especially if there is a target to aim for. [ In a way it is similar to a weight loss programme.   Weighing yourself weekly keeps you on track and makes you think twice about having that extra bag of crisps.]

Telematics can help with this.

Having a box in your car, monitoring your driving, can help you become a smoother and therefore greener driver.  That is a secondary benefit in my view to the main question – do you need to be driving the car at all?

By measuring the distance you drive – on an app, can also prompt you to think ‘Do I really need to make that journey by car and burn that fossil fuel?’   Is there another way to do it – by bus, train, bike, walk – or even not at all?   Setting yourself a driven distance reduction target could help your bank balance, as you’ll not need to visit the petrol station quite so much.

You never know, it could also help the next generation to not run out of oxygen when they are “ancient”.  Every little helps.

What are the potential impacts of Brexit to UK drivers?

You may have read our recent blog posts about new legislation proposals for a new driver night driving ban and the provisionally approved legislation that requires car sold from 2022 onwards to be fitted with a range of new safety systems as standard.   Here we’re going to be considering something more controversial; talking about the potential impact Brexit could have on UK drivers, especially if we end up leaving with no deal.

Brexit is  something that has been widely debated since the results of the referendum and there are  plenty of strongly opinionated people on both sides of the table.  However, we’re not going to talk about whether the result to leave was right or wrong – we’ll leave that up to you – we are instead going to focus on trying to be helping during this time of uncertainty and turmoil.

Here’s a list of useful and important things to know/consider if you’re a UK driver who might be thinking about driving in the EU after the Brexit deadline (some of these points also apply for other means of travel to/in the EU):

  1. You’ll need an international driving permit (if we leave without a deal)
    • These can be purchased from the Post Office or driving agencies such as RAC and AA
  2. You’ll need a motor insurance green card in case you have an accident
    • If you’re taking a vehicle, caravan or trailer
    • These can be obtained by contacting your insurance provider – do it at least one month before travel!
  3. If you’re planning on driving in Ireland after Brexit then you’ll need to display a GB sticker
  4. If you live in an EU country and drive then you’ll need to exchange your UK driving licence for a local driving licence of the country you reside in (UK driving licences will no longer be recognised by EU countries after Brexit)
  5. The UK government advises that all travellers have at least 6 months left on their passport to avoid potentially being turned away at the border
  6. The EHIC card won’t be valid if the UK leaves without a deal so be sure to get health insurance if travelling to the EU
  7. Motorway and ports could see heavier traffic than usual, so you’ll need to plan accordingly
  8. If you travel with a pet then beware, pets won’t be eligible for the pet passport scheme anymore – you’ll need to go through the four month process of getting them microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and blood-tested before travel
  9. Although you won’t need a visa, from 2021, you will need to get authorisation from the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to enter the EU. The travel authorisation will:
    • Allow travellers to stay in the EU for up to 90 days in a 180-day period (as long as you’re not working or studying)
    • Cost €7 – though it’ll be free for travellers under 18 or over 70
    • Be valid for 3 years or until the travel document expires

Believe it or not, Brexit could also impact you in the UK if you’re planning to buy or need to service/repair a vehicle after Brexit;

  1. If you purchase a new vehicle after Brexit, it might be more expensive because of the fluctuating exchange rate
  2. If you purchase a vehicle that needs to be imported then there could be delays in delivering new vehicles due to extra checks at the borders
  3. The same could apply for service, repairs or tyre replacements due to parts taking longer to arrive from the EU

Ask the Doctor – insurance providers and TSPs

  1. Why is telematics only for young drivers?
    • That is a misconception, although that’s obviously the most applicable sector with high premiums and high risk just standing out to be mitigated.  But actually, the data that can be derived from a telematics box can be applicable and of value for all drivers.  For example, our partner By Miles has recently launched a mileage only policy – you only pay for the miles that you drive.  This is using just one piece of telematics data: highly accurate and immediate tracking of your precise journey and distance covered.  This may well be relevant to older drivers, perhaps.  And there are of course other ways of using the telematics data in an ever more granular fashion to help make car insurance fairer
  2. Why doesn’t REDTAIL sell insurance?
    • Well, I should say that we aren’t in any way qualified to be an insurance company, and besides, we prefer to think of ourselves as a solution partner to insurers and brokers.  By which I mean we don’t pretend to be actuaries.  What we do do is work with players in the insurance value chain (including but not limited to insurers, brokers, underwriters and intermediaries) to help our data inform their data.  We leave the other clever stuff to the experts
  3. TSPs are ten a penny – what’s different about REDTAIL?
    • To a certain extent you are right, but good ones aren’t!  To answer the question: we are unique in our heritage with Plextek, a thirty year old, innovative engineering design house.  This means that our way of working is about both problem solving and defining a unique solution for that customers’ customer – vanilla is rarely good enough.  We love answering difficult questions!

    • Secondly, we are obsessed with quality – of sensors, of signals and of the data derived – in order to deliver the best value data to our customers
    • Thirdly, we have an end to end solution, from device/firmware through connectivity (SIMs/APIs) to data (raw and managed) to portals and B2B/B2C Apps

Got all that?  And testimony to all of that is how long customers have stayed with us – which in a competitive market and environment is tribute enough!

Should telematics car insurance really be IPT exempt?

You may have read in our recent Press Release that young drivers can often find much cheaper car insurance by opting for telematics (black box) based policies.  For example, a Wise Driving Black Box policy would cost an eighteen-year-old driver only £1506, compared to the cheapest non-telematics policy which would set them back £2490.

While this is a significant saving, nearly half (43%) of drivers asked during a recent Redtail/YouGov survey stated that they were unaware of any potential savings that telematics-based car insurance could offer.  Perhaps more concerning was the discovery that 10% of drivers believed switching to a telematics policy would stand to save nothing.

With such potential for savings, why isn’t more being done to publicise telematics and the potential savings that come with it?

Furthermore, would the exemption of IPT for telematics-based policies not be a significant asset in promoting the use of telematics?  With a potential additional saving of £180 a year, on average, by removing IPT from telematics car insurance, surely this exemption would help not just the insured but also the insurer make a saving for each telematics-based policy sold.

It’s not just young or new drivers who would stand to save from the IPT exemption on telematics car insurance, older drivers could make savings too.  Many car insurance providers are now starting to broaden their telematics offerings to the older driver in more creative ways that was has been traditionally seen.  For example, Redtail Telematics’ customer By Miles offers pay-as-you-drive policies where customers pay per mile and only use distance driven – that means no driver scoring or curfews as has been the case with the young/new driver offerings of old.

If you then consider the other potential benefits of using telematics, such as stolen vehicle recovery, battery health monitoring, efficient driving analysis and many others, surely the IPT exemption just makes sense if we want to promote and encourage the importance and use of telematics in car insurance.

What’s your view on this?  Do you agree that it’s a good idea?  Maybe you have some major concerns that you feel should be considered before the suggestion is taken seriously?  Let us know!

Customer Satisfaction means what, exactly……?

Customer Satisfaction is defined as “the number of customers, or percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a firm, its products, or its services (ratings) exceeds specified satisfaction goals”.*

But what does that actually mean in terms of doing business?  How should you – the supplier or manufacturer – behave in order to create, nurture and sustain that mutually beneficial relationship?

REDTAIL is (as are many) a user of the word partner.  We would like to think user not abuser.  We strive to work very closely with customers in order to create solutions relevant to their market, business and customer requirement.  And as part of an ongoing dialogue (key word) we do ask how we’re doing.  Below are a few words and phrases offered by our customers:

Let’s try and group into four key areas: Innovation, Productivity, Quality and Relationship.  With a slightly subjective view on labels, the spread of sentiment is as below:

  Insurer A Insurer B
Innovation 4 2
Productivity 2 4
Quality 0 4
Relationship 2 3

It is indicative that relationship points are closest to parity.  The remaining emphases are surely indicative of the nature of the customer’s business, with greater need for and recognition of innovation, for example, and conversely of productivity.  Also, it seems interesting that the customer with higher expectations of innovation has a much lower recognition of quality!

So, to answer the original question, it is fair but perhaps obvious to say that Customer Satisfaction means all of the above, and more.  But the resounding confirmation of that next purchase order must be the ultimate indicator of a satisfied customer.

*Farris, Paul W.; Neil T. Bendle; Phillip E. Pfeifer; David J. Reibstein (2010). Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 0-13-705829-2.