Travelers underwriting chief details mobile's role in UBI growth

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Travelers is the latest carrier to throw its hat into the ring of usage-based insurance smartphone apps, after the company introduced one for its IntelliDrive program earlier this year.

Currently available in app form in Minnesota and Nevada, Intellidrive’s goal, like many UBI programs, is to help customers better understand their driving habits for pricing benefits Travelers provides driver feedback that, if acted upon, can lead to additional savings. Elaine Montgomery-Baisden, Chief Underwriting Officer of Personal Insurance at Travelers, discussed the company's UBI strategy with Digital Insurance.

Digital Insurance: How long was IntelliDrive in the works before its launch?

Elaine Montgomery-Baisden: Travelers has been engaged in telematics initiatives for some time now with our plug-in device, however, the IntelliDrive smartphone app is the most recent phase of our telematics strategy. It came as a result of thoughtful and deliberative input from both consumers and agents. The app officially launched on May 21 [of this year].

DI: How did you collect data before this launch?

Montgomery-Baisden: Previous versions of the telematics program included a plug-in device that collected mileage. This was strictly for rating purposes, though. We ran a pilot to test different technologies and TrueMotion was selected due to the strength of its overall solution.

DI: What are the expected benefits from this mobile expansion?

Montgomery-Baisden: We not only wanted the app to be easy to use for our customers, but we also wanted it to be interactive as well. We believe that we've delivered that. The app gives consumers a rate that's tailored to how they drive and also provides feedback so that drivers can adjust any risky behaviors that they may have, and thus become safer drivers.

DI: How do you feel that UBI is positioned right now?

Montgomery-Baisden: Clearly, telematics is a growing segment. It not only has the potential to help drivers be more informed about their own behavior, but to also ultimately be safer on the road. That’s obviously always a good thing.

DI: Are any other enhancements to the program coming and/or in the works?

Montgomery-Baisden: We anticipate launching IntelliDrive in additional states later on in the year. We're also always continually looking for additional ways to improve our products and to make them even more useful for consumers.

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