UK: Norwich Union road-tests revolutionary new motor insurance

18 August 2004

Motor insurance is set for a shake up with Norwich Union�s pilot scheme of “Pay As You Drive”� insurance.

Hundreds of motorists are now road-testing revolutionary technology that could mean insurance premiums in the future are calculated on how often, where and when people drive their cars.

For the first time motorists will begin to understand what drives their premiums, ultimately allowing them to have greater control and to adjust their driving patterns to reduce their motoring costs.

“Black box” telematics devices are currently being fitted into 5,000 Norwich Union customer cars across the UK. The cars involved in the pilot scheme belong to a wide range of motorists – from low mileage users to long distance drivers, those who live in rural areas to town dwellers.

The black box is smaller in size than a DVD case and is installed either in the boot or passenger area of a customer�s car. The box records real-time vehicle usage and sends the data to Norwich Union securely using similar technology to that used by mobile phones.

The pilot will last for up to two years and once the findings are evaluated, Norwich Union will confirm whether “Pay As You Drive”™ (PAYD) insurance will become available to all customers.

One of the first volunteers to have her car fitted with a “Pay As You Drive”™ insurance system is Linda Jones, from Chichester.

She said: “The PAYD pilot grabbed my attention as it seemed a much fairer way of charging for car insurance. It doesn�t penalise me for how other motorists drive and it�s also more transparent. I like the fact that in time I�ll receive a monthly bill, similar to my phone bill showing exactly how my premium has been calculated.”

The revolutionary technology adapted for the “Pay As You Drive”™ insurance scheme is ideal for the safety and security-conscious motorist. Norwich Union�s telematics device has the ability to locate a vehicle in the event of theft and in future will provide instant notification of accidents to the insurer. Future enhancements such as panic buttons and real-time route planning could also feature in the longer term.

Robert Ledger, programme director for the “Pay As You Drive”™ insurance scheme said: “After months of careful planning it�s great to see drivers on the road with �Pay As You Drive�™ insurance technology. We believe this initiative is a major breakthrough in the development of more tailored motor insurance premiums enabling us to treat all drivers as individuals. And we�re confident our customers will fully appreciate the benefits too.

“The interest in the pilot scheme has been phenomenal. We could have filled the pilot twice over with the amount of requests we�ve had from interested motorists, not just within the UK but from drivers around the world.

“As a market leader, Norwich Union is always looking to develop new opportunities to deliver greater value and choice to our customers and we are confident �Pay As You Drive�™ insurance is the future.”

Norwich Union � the UK�s largest insurer � has an exclusive agreement with US insurer Progressive to pioneer “Pay As You Drive”™ insurance in the UK and Europe using telematics technology.

Although places on the pilot have already been filled, motorists who would like to find out more about the scheme and any future plans to bring the product to the market, can contact the “Pay As You Drive”™ insurance team at [email protected].