Cashback for safer drivers as Beema introduces region’s first behavioural car insurance

Three hundred Beema customers are already early users of SmartDriver and the provider anticipates a surge in demand as the benefits become more widely known in 2022. Image: supplied

Beema SmartDriver utilises powerful technology to measure speeding, phone handling, braking and lane changing

Pioneering insurance provider Beema Insurance has unveiled an innovative motoring product that rewards car owners for their safer driving habits.

Beema SmartDriver utilises powerful technology to measure behavioural factors - including speeding, phone handling, and sudden braking and lane changing - to deliver a points score that can lead to savings.

The latest innovation follows the success of the UAE company’s ground-breaking Pay-per-kilometre car insurance product, which gives cashback to car owners who drive less distance during their policy.

SmartDriver caters to motorists who spend more time on the road - and perhaps are not ideal customers for Beema’s core insurance product - and potentially rewards them with lower premiums for proven safer driving habits, says Beema Insurance chief executive Nicola Garelli.

“We’re trying to innovate today the way we price risk and the way we interact with customers, the way we give incentives to customers and to be more transparent, but also to use the insurance product in a more conscious way,” he says.

SmartDriver follows Beema’s second anniversary of its arrival on the UAE’s insurance scene, resulting in record market share growth and success with its tech-driven approach to motoring coverage.

The provider now has more than 30,000 customers and for more than 18 months has been building an evolving user-based framework “suitable for multiple needs across multiple products”.

This delivers powerful data collection and analysis which equips Beema to understand customer driving behaviour “in a very privacy compliant and respectful way”, in turn enabling it to share reduced risk savings with eligible users.

Mr Garelli says SmartDriver has a similar “financial wrapper” to Beema’s pioneering Pay-per-kilometer product in that “we give you cash back at the end of the policy if you have been what we call a smart driver”, but it assesses many more factors.

Beema Insurance chief executive Nicola Garelli. Image: supplied

SmartDriver is activated through the Beema mobile app, launched last year for IoS or Android to allow customers better access to their policy information. If a customer selects the new feature and drives safely the software formula calculates an “excellent reward”, especially if a driver combines good behaviour with low mileages.

Three hundred Beema customers are already early users of SmartDriver and the provider anticipates a surge in demand as the benefits become more widely known in 2022.

Mr Garelli says the solution includes a strong customer trust element in its design, backed by maximum customer data privacy. While sophisticated software detects various elements of driving behaviour, he stresses SmartDriver doesn’t involve a physical tracker attached to a vehicle.

“We use location fixes only to calculate average speed between point A and point B and to compare that speed with the maximum allowed on the specific road,” explains the CEO.

“Then we drop the information, so we don’t monitor the location of the customer, for privacy reasons.

“We only use the data to calculate the driving score - once calculated, all personal information that we needed, in particular the location component, is discarded.”

Mr Garelli continues: “Also, throughout any phase of the data analysis the user is fully anonymous, only represented as tokens, which then get reconnected to the user only at the moment when we associate the driving score with a specific user.

“So it is a safe product, extremely low intrusion, designed to be as respectful as possible.”

The first insurance product of its kind in the region, SmartDriver extends Beema’s mission to make insurance simpler, easier and fairer, and by sharing profits with lower risk customers.

We use location fixes only to calculate average speed ... Then we drop the information, so we don’t monitor the location of the customer, for privacy reasons
Nicola Garelli, Beema Insurance chief executive

It enables a broader driver pool to dip into the potential benefits of being a Beema customer, namely those who accrue the average 20,000km or more annually.

Beema acknowledges many more drivers are back on the road since the tough pandemic safety restrictions of 2020. Not only does SmartDriver incentivise their greater sense of responsibility behind the wheel, but ultimately works towards safer UAE roads.

A built-in gamification element makes SmartDriver attractive for the user, with each trip generating an overall driving score - a higher score denotes better driving and users can discover any areas in which they need to improve through actionable feedback.

Ultimately, customers can earn rewards such as cashback based on their cumulative driving score at the end of their policy period.

Less accidents means a safer community of drivers, less insurance payouts and lower premiums, says Beema.

Mr Garelli explains SmartDriver is designed to detect elements such as situational awareness, speeding in certain conditions, frequent and sudden braking or lane changes, and use of a mobile while driving.

“We serve everyone and we price everyone differently depending on the level of risk that we that detect, based on multiple parameters, but our principle is that we would really like to build a community of trusted and trustable people who understand the value of the insurance they are buying,” he says.

“We want to be protection, but at the same time we want to be efficient and to make sure that, if you are a good driver, you are priced in the right way and do not have to bear the excess margin and compensation of the portion of the portfolio that is behaving in a reckless way.

“We treat the data in a very respectful way and, at the same time, we use the data to improve pricing for the entire community. We want to be priced efficiently, but also be sustainable.”

Significant investment has led to “a very complex product from a technical point of view, but also from a risk analysis point of view” the CEO reveals.

SmartDriver emerges amid Beema’s plans for regional and international expansion in territories where other drivers are seeking a smarter way of insuring vehicles.

In a country like the UAE where poor driving is often marked by traffic fines, Beema’s offering is the polar opposite - seeking to give good drivers a thumbs up financially rather than punishing poor examples.

SmartDriver follows a lot of regulatory work and research and abides by strict GDPR regulations, the company says.

While its products have been launched and tested in the UAE, they are “designed to be exported” to other countries, including Saudi Arabia.

“We definitely need to have a product able to reward the users that drive a lot, but they are safe drivers,” says Mr Garelli.

“If you are a cautious driver, you don’t look at your phone, you don’t over speed, you do the same journey everyday and you keep distance and you don’t turn and steer in a strange way … I think it’s fair that we differentiate that type of behaviour from a driver that does drive a lot, but with a reckless approach.”

Mr Garelli adds: “We try to make sure the community is safe and at the same time we try to build long-term relationships.

“The more we know them and understand the habits, the better we serve the people and we also become more tolerant for selected risk.”

Updated: February 05, 2022, 11:43 AM