General Insurance Article - Coverbox set to take insurance back 350 years


 Pay-as-you-drive car insurer Coverbox has been acquired by new owners - and the new business looks set to take insurance back to the 17th century.
 The new owners – one of whom established Budget Insurance, one of the UK’s most successful intermediaries with more than two million customers – plan to grow the current proposition user base, as well as introduce new insurance rating and charging processes aimed at driving pricing efficiencies, and moving away from the traditional “one price fits each demographic” model.
 Coverbox Limited – which has 15,000 customers - will have offices in Billingham and Peterborough in addition to its current Portsmouth presence, but the nature and structure of the business means there will be no changes to headcount.
 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.
 “It also means we can reward well-behaved drivers – for instance, we all know young drivers who are maniacs behind the wheel, but we also all know young drivers who are incredibly safe and sensible behind the wheel. But the current insurance market lumps them all together as being equally high liability. We can change that.
 “In many ways, the latest and developing technology in vehicle insurance actually allows us to go back to the earliest days of insurance, when underwriters sat in dockside coffee houses in the 17th century and assessed the risk value of each and every ship leaving the port according to cargo, route, season, state of repair of the ship and level of experience of the captain.
 “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.
 All Coverbox policyholders get free theft tracking – a £200 premium on top of a traditional insurance policy – and have a personal website enabling them to see precisely how many miles they are driving, and what the cost is. The technology behind Coverbox is based on proven equipment specified by several major car makers.

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