In the hopes of improving the way South Africans drive (and signing on new clients), Discovery Insure has released a smartphone app that scientifically measures and scores driving behaviour.
“We want to give people a taste of what driving measurement is all about and what we do as a business, even if they aren’t clients of Discovery Insure,” CEO Anton Ossip told Moneyweb on Tuesday.
“Hopefully they will like it and go for the real thing, but either way we hope it makes them more aware of their driving and ultimately better drivers,” Ossip added.
Discovery Insure is the short-term insurance business of the Discovery Group and was launched in May 2011. It has more than 50 000 clients, double what it had at the end of April last year.
Ossip said Discovery Insure continues to attract ‘good risks’ and is improving the risk profile (ie: driving behaviour) of the clients it is attracting.
The new app, which went live two days ago, can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play Store and is available to Discovery Insure and non-Discovery Insure clients.
“Research shows that 90% of motor vehicle fatalities are caused by driver behaviour. Smartphone telematics can be a powerful tool to improve driver behaviour and safety,” Ossip said.
How it works
The app uses a smartphone’s accelerometer and GPS to provide a driver with detailed driving information, including harsh braking and cornering, distracted driving (it knows if you’re using your phone while driving), speeding and personalised driving tips.
To use the app, your location services must be switched on, but it doesn’t need to be activated each time you drive and can tell whether your cellphone is moving in your pocket, for example, or whether it is a vehicle making it move.
The app also picks up if you are handling your phone while driving.
“When viewing a previous trip, you will able to see for which portion of the trip you were using your phone. It’s quite lenient and will take into account the vehicle being stationary,” said Ossip.
“The app will provide trip details while they are still fresh in your mind, making it more likely for you to recall your risky driver behaviours and change them,” commented Rory Byrne, special engineering advisor to Discovery Insure and renown for being the chief designer at the Benetton and Scuderia Ferrari Formula One (F1) teams.
The leaderboard function ranks your overall score against that of your friends, gender group, other drivers in their province and other drivers in the country. The app also has functionality to allow you to mark a trip where you were a passenger.
Discovery Insure plans on making changes and enhancements to the app on an ongoing basis as users provide feedback.
Discovery Insure’s challenge
Users can challenge friends, family, colleagues and even rival companies to take part in Discovery Insure’s Driver Challenge, which runs from June 1 to August 31.
The better users drive and the more friends they invite to download the app and join the challenge, the more tickets they will earn in the challenge’s weekly prize draws.
Prizes include a share of R1 million in BP petrol vouchers and a trip for four to the Monaco Grand Prix.
Discovery Insure has not yet finalised whether the app will still function when the competition comes to an end.