Telematics technology now pays for fleets

Travelers Insurance (NYSE: TRV) is now paying fleets in the form of insurance discounts. The catch: The fleet must install vehicle telematics technology “in a sufficient number of their fleet vehicles and that they are actively incorporating safety information from the devices into their ongoing safety feedback to drivers, at least on a quarterly basis.”

“By embracing fleet vehicle telematics and offering discounts to our commercial auto customers that effectively deploy this technology, Travelers is furthering its commitment to improving driver behavior and roadway safety,” said Scott Higgins, president, Travelers Commercial Accounts.

Travelers is offering discounts as much as 15% off certain types of insurance premiums when devices that monitor vehicle and driver performance are installed.

“The use of vehicle telematics is the next step in improving the safe operation of commercial fleets, transforming drivers with less oversight to those whose performance can be observed, coached and managed,” said Chris Hayes, Director of Transportation Services, Travelers Risk Control. “By using this technology and the wealth of information it can provide, fleet and risk managers can have data that will aid in developing specific training programs that positively modify driving behavior.”

For carriers that seek safer drivers, and with CSA 2010 set to rollout, aren’t all fleets looking for that safety advantage? Programs such as Travelers are a nice natural extension. Use of onboard computers and other technologies can help fleets monitor drivers and equipment and perhaps prevent an FMCSA intervention.

The facts of life under CSA 2010 make safe driving more important than ever. And maintenance is also a key factor when it comes to inspections. A poor maintenance history could spell doom for a carrier. If all that can be warded off by installing these devices, and much of it can, fleets need to explore those opportunities.

And let’s not kid ourselves about CSA 2010. If you get a poor rating in any of the seven BASICs, I’d bet that your insurance provider is going to be paying close attention. If installation of onboard computers can prevent that, and the insurance provider offers a discount on top of that, how can you go wrong?

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