Onlia reinforces safe driving with free app powered by IMS

A 2020 ICTA nomination

Toronto, ON (Jan. 27, 2020) – Motivating drivers to adopt practices that can help reduce accidents and lower claims is an ongoing challenge for insurers. Over the years many usage-based insurance (UBI) programs have sought to link premium discounts to safe-driving practices while identifying bad drivers and filtering them from the most-desirable policies. This approach has worked to some degree, but many drivers are reluctant to be monitored to qualify for favorable policy terms. At the same time, the rapid digital transformation taking place across a broad swath of businesses is currently reshaping the insurance industry. Insurers that want to be competitive need to provide accessible tools for mobile users, offering a low-pressure path to becoming long-term customers.

Faced with these challenges, Achmea, a large insurance firm with a primarily European presence, decided to venture into the North American market and try a fresh approach. Achmea teamed up with Fairfax to launch a new company, Onlia, starting in Canada with a unique mobile telematics app. To accelerate the product design, development, and launch, Onlia sought an SDK with the capabilities to capture and score specific driving behaviors, including acceleration, braking, speed, distracted driving, and other factors.

To build market share and draw prospective customers, Onlia wanted to create a flexible, rewards-based driving safety app that delivered an exceptional user experience and would remain free to use long term. The solution design also needed to have these characteristics:

  • Low power consumption to ensure extended battery life;
  • High reliability of trip detection;
  • A flexible scoring process adaptable to different programs;
  • Accurate distracted driving detection.

These design imperatives are reflected in the current version of the Onlia Sense app (soft launch July 2018 and hard launch March 2019). Because the Onlia Sense app itself is the cornerstone of the entire program, the capabilities of the IMS SDK were pivotal to ensuring that the solution could be quickly designed and deployed. Specific features available through the SDK made it possible to detect and minimize distracted driving, a key objective of the development team. Additionally, a scoring system enabled through the SDK gives drivers a clear-cut way to measure and improve their driving behavior. In return, they gain monthly rewards—in the form of redeemable gift cards—based on their scores.

Onlia Insurance was included as an extension of the safety app to provide further incentives to drivers who are already enjoying the app experience and earning rewards. These drivers can gain additional benefits through an insurance policy that amplifies the value of Onlia Sense scoring. Rather than the usual UBI discount system, Onlia provides a monthly cash back program based on driving scores that meet requirements. Through this novel approach, Onlia is gaining traction as a new entrant into the Canadian market and fine-tuning an effective acquisition mechanism to draw new customers. Onlia Sense users are under no pressure or obligation to sign up for a policy, but, of course, many do because of the additional benefits available. Other value-added services are available—starting with on-demand road-side assistance—with more to come. These services are designed to provide more value to the user and offer Onlia and their safety partners a channel to share relevant safety products and services with the Onlia Sense community.

The app gives drivers a high-level view of the current score, trip recording data, relative improvements in driving practices, and similar information, offering a summary of the progress (or lack of progress) toward earning perks and rewards. Specific driving behavior is not used to set the policy premium; instead, the cash back and rewards are the incentive to improve driving behavior, which is re-evaluated and rescored each month.

Through this approach, individual drivers can examine their own driving behavior trip-by-trip, gain insights into risky practices that they are engaging in, and progressively improve their driving skills and safety with the added benefit of receiving rewards when they do.

For Onlia, the business benefits of Onlia Sense are:

  • Lower marketing acquisition costs;
  • Improved customer engagement and retention;
  • Safer, less risky book of business;
  • Fast entry into the Canadian market.

Business Impact

For Onlia users, the business outcomes and improvements for drivers include:

  • Distracted driving reduction – Statistical data accrued by IMS indicated that incidents of distracted drivingwere reduced by 29 percent overall.
  • Improves overall driving behavior – Onlia Sense is proven to improve overall driving behavior with over two thirds (66%) of drivers increasing their driving scores by ~4 points compared to their first 30 driving trips.
  • Reduction in bad driving events – Drivers using Onlia Sense experience a reduction in driving events that correlate to poor driving behavior with a very notable reduction in speeding events. Using Onlia Sense:
    • 72% of drivers reduced speeding with an amazing average score improvement of 24 points;
    • 70% of drivers improved braking with an average improvement of 8 points;
    • 70% of drivers improved cornering with an average improvement of 7 points;
    • 66% of drivers improved acceleration with an average score improvement of ~3 points.
  • Continual safe driving engagement – 46% of users check their score after every trip and 40% check their score daily.

About Onlia

Onlia Holding Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiaries Onlia Agency Inc. & Onlia Services Inc., offers innovative digital insurance and a mobile app to the Canadian market. Onlia’s mission is to create a community around making Canada a safer place, and to provide tools and motivation to facilitate safer behaviours. Launched in 2018, Onlia is a joint venture between Achmea Canada Holding Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Achmea B.V. the largest insurance group of the Netherlands, and Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a Canadian holding company which, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and investment management. Using proprietary and award-winning technology, Onlia is rethinking the way Canadians approach safety and insurance. Join the community at

About IMS

IMS is a leading connected car solutions provider delivering services and analytics to insurers, governments and mobility operators. IMS is the developer of the cloud-based DriveSync® connected car platform which has received industry acclaim forits ability to offer customers a data source-agnostic, multi-device strategy for service provision versus a single focused technology approach. IMS is part of Trak Global Group, an international connected solutions provider with technology deployed in over a dozen territories, and its own in-house telematics insurance business, Carrot Insurance. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Onlia Holding Inc.

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