Telematics put carmakers in the driving seat

Carmakers could be among the biggest winners in the connectivity of cars where “data is money” according to Edouard de Lamarzelle CEO of PSA Insurance.

Speaking to TU-Automotive, he said any challenges with rolling out the technology to all new cars will be overcome as carmakers jockey for position in the market.

“If there is a technological issue with connected cars we know from past experience that it will be resolved,” said Lamarzelle. “My position is more about how we are going to use it?”

He said there are three main outcomes of connectivity that will change the automotive industry forever.

Lamarzelle said: “Firstly, we start from whether the clients perceive an added value with the technology, according to their standards and not what we think they should be. In the history of the internet there have been some fantastic models that we thought would happen but they did not. The end judge will be the consumer so we try to have an approach that is simple.

“For example, when a client buys a car he wants something nice, he wants mobility solutions, he wants peace-of-mind. Clearly his car that can communicate and send back information is an opportunity for a manufacturer because it will enrich the customer relationship that they have.

“The manufacturer can anticipate situations where the customer will need solutions and the manufacturer can be there for them when it happens. And no customer would say ‘no I don’t want this solution’ so we are confident that if we address this everyone will find an interest. Now whether they want to pay or not is another question it’s more about how the business model is going to be organised and there are many forms that can be applied.”

Evolution and revolution

“The second point is that connectivity will have an evolution/revolution over how things used to be done,” Lamarzelle said. “Today, for example, when you look at how insurers underwrite risk, you go and see the agent who gives you a list of questions that you reply to and that’s it, you have your policy and we’ll see you next year at the renewal.

“However, with the connected car it is possible, at just about every moment, to assess the risk and that will be a revolution for the insurance industry because the data will allow insurers to assess how their risk is spread.

“In all this it will help us to better manage an incident and perform and act to assist the client will cost less because of the access to this information.

“Thirdly, perhaps it will encourage the carmaker to consider they have a strong position in the value chain and so they can become a player. There is some talk today that, maybe, the carmaker may also become the insurer of the vehicle.”

Lamarzelle said telematics will open up a plethora of new revenue streams for all the major players involved with automotive products and services.

He explained: “Telematics has everything within itself to be considered as an important business element because while it used to be ‘time is money’, we are now in an environment that data is money as well. By having data you have access to different profit streams and, because data also allows you to save time, you have a double impact on profits. The one that has the data, and has the ability to intervene to gain time and deliver a value-added offer with a solution to the end user, will be a winner in this new market. That’s why the OEMs, for me, have a very strong position.”

However, Lamarzelle cautioned that restraint will have to be exercised in the moves to use telematics to increase customer engagement.

He said: “Telematics enables many things but we do not want to annoy our clients, however, we will need to further the brand. Everything we do is to ensure the client is happy.

“There is interactivity now with the client but we do not want to impose this on the client unless the car is going to have a breakdown and we can communicate this to the driver.

“Where telematics will be used is how to use this information to do things differently either at a cheaper cost or to do something better. For example, imagine all cars are connected and we can see which cars will have a breakdown in the next month. In this case we could know which spare parts will be used in that month and can optimise our warehouse to ensure we don’t have clients that are stuck with a breakdown and no spare parts at the dealership. And this saves us time and money too.

“In this way we could offer a value-added proposal where the client will be the ultimate beneficiary.”

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