In-car technology drives AXA strategy

10 Jun 2003

Insurance firm AXA is considering expanding its Traksure mobile and GPS technology to a wider range of drivers following a successful two-year pilot implementation. The in-car mobile and GPS system is aimed at reducing the cost of car insurance for drivers between 17 and 25 years of age.

Soaring numbers of car crashes caused by young drivers speeding on Irish roads have resulted in young drivers paying punitive premiums of up to €6,950 for car insurance. In a bid to address the problem, two years ago, AXA, in association with Galway electronics manufacturer Connaught Electronics Limited (CEL), deployed its Traksure speed monitoring device, and since then its take-up rate and effectiveness have exceeded original plans. So far, some 1,200 young drivers have adopted the system for their cars and the scheme has had an expulsion rate of only 1pc.

Using the Traksure device, a 19 year-old provisional licence holder in Dublin driving a one litre car that would normally be charged €6,950, would instead pay €3,881 – a reduction of around 44pc.

The device, which is placed inside a vehicle, works via a mobile GSM technology that is linked to a mapping system developed by AXA and CEL based on information from local authorities on speed limits throughout the country. If a driver is noted to have exceeded the speed limit in any zone, he/she is given an official warning. Exceeded three times, the driver is expelled from the programme and charged the full premium for cover.

AXA’s executive director Aidan Cassells told “As the cost of the device (around €800) comes down, the ability for us to offer this service to a wider audience interested in reducing their insurance will open up.”

The unit can also be used as a security device in that if the vehicle is stolen it can be tracked over the internet. Already one car that was stolen recently was recovered by Gardaí who tracked its location this way.

“The aim of the device is to take speed out of the equation. Out of the 1,200 people who have used the system, they reckon it has made them much safer drivers and we believe that there are people that are alive today as a result of this measure. So far only 1pc of the people who took part in the pilot had to be removed for exceeding the speed limits. Those who remained in the programme believe it has made them better and more responsible drivers,” Cassells said.

“It will require a lot more investment to expand the free service, but more general use of this device would make a lot of difference to insurance premiums and we have been in discussions with the Government to look at it,” Cassells concluded.

By John Kennedy