EXPERT: Martin Wedge, of OVL Group
The insurance industry has sent its starkest warning yet that motorists will be forced off the road or face higher insurance premiums unless they agree to have their driving monitored at all times through telematics technology, the so-called ‘spy in the car’.
At an insurance conference last month it was said that the back-seat black box will become compulsory on all vehicles in the next decade – fitted as standard to all volume vehicles.
Everyone gets the fact that insurance companies need to establish what happened at the scene of an accident to apportion blame against claim and the need of fleet managers to be able to identify more readily the boy racers in need of some remedial driving training to keep the company’s premiums low.
No one would argue that fleet managers can also manage their carbon footprint better if the driver’s foot – and its heavier use of the accelerator -were more regularly monitored.
But this is as grey an area as the grey fleet for companies and data management in terms of who has access to that information.
The insurance industry has not covered itself in glory in recent years by the routine selling on of information to accident management companies, the subject on an ongoing government enquiry.
The Information Commissioners office will no doubt be watching this issue with some interest in terms who has access or ‘rights’ to the driver information and where that data ends up.
For example, the fleet manager by virtue of their position would be expected to share information with HR who manage company car policy as well as the hiring and firing of staff.
As far as the insurance industry is concerned there seems to have been little to stop the selling of accident information resulting in over-inflated claims and the higher premiums we all face today.
Indeed, ‘Big Brother in the back seat’ could end up driving bad behaviour rather than good driving practice and companies could find themselves at the wrong end of hefty fines for breaches of the Data Protection Act.
This would have a brand reputational impact at a time when individuals are trying to claw back personal information about themselves that has leaked into the ether through social media.