The ‘Big Brother’ everyone feared 30 or so years ago, arrived quietly, quickly and insinuated himself into almost every part of daily life without even the most muted whimper of discontent – rather with expansive embraces!
That ‘Big Brother’ is the cell phone camera and all the associated technologies that go with the so-called Digital Age where nothing anyone does is actually completely private or unnoticed any longer.
One portion of this is the dashcam in automobiles – and almost everyone has looked at YouTube footage take from dash cameras of motorists doing incredibly silly things. However, there is a far more serious and relevant side to the dashcam according to Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies.
The insurance industry is built to provide cover for drivers and businesses to insure against the loss, damage or liability that occurs as a result of a vehicle accidents, theft, hijacking or fire. The premiums for covering such vehicular-related events have traditionally been calculated based on reactive data, in other words, in response to a loss.
“Verifying all aspects of a policyholder’s claim after an event such as an accident is challenging for the insurer and rooting out fraudulent claims near impossible,” he says. “It is estimated by the South African Insurance Association fraudulent claims could amount to as much as 32% of all claims submitted in any year, with little that could be done to correct the situation.
“Now, thanks to recent developments in dashcam technologies, insurance providers have the means at hand to nip fraudulent claims in the bud by eliminating the opportunity by placing a dashcam solution in every insured vehicle, to completely redefine the way that risk is viewed and calculated. All it takes is a simple dashcam solution and a whole lot of cloud-computing power, software automation and artificial intelligence technology to stamp out fraudulent claims.”
All well and good, but the insurance companies will expect the client to pay for the dashcam and likely not offer any return in the form of reduced premiums. . . just saying!
“It is not just insurance companies that pay when a fraudulent claim is made,” says Smith. “The reality is that it is honest people that bear the brunt of the costs in ways that are not always immediately apparent. In short, fraud detection is costly and insurers’ premiums must go up if their cost of business goes up, just like it would in any other industry.
“The higher the levels of fraud, the higher insurance premiums will climb. There is another significant, often overlooked cost to honest policyholders, and that is time. When resources are spent investigating fraud, they are diverted from processing honest claims, delaying pay-outs of legitimate claims, costing people time and peace of mind.”
Today’s dashcams have had a major technology overhaul. Now equipped with smart sensors that are capable of registering and recognising trigger events, such as sudden stops, sharp acceleration or collisions, these devices are capable of automatically uploading a 10-second video clip of the event to be stored in the cloud, while simultaneously sending email or SMS notifications, allowing insurance service operators to respond directly to vehicle incidents without having to be summoned.
When every second counts, policyholders will benefit from life-saving proactive emergency response. They will also benefit from premiums that are linked to their driving behaviour, in the form of discounts or rewards for responsible driving.
Smart dash cam solutions offer full GPS tracking of single or multiple vehicles, in real time, to deliver total transparency into each vehicle’s trip with deep contextual information such as point-by-point location information, time and travelling speed, all of which make it simple for an investigator to locate the necessary footage relating to a specific event.
Modern solutions have a distinctive edge in that they offer intelligent analytics and automated reporting for true visibility into driver behaviour and vehicle treatment, which is exactly what insurance providers need in order to accurately evaluate risk.
Furthermore, modern cloud-based dash cam solutions are ideally suited to an insurance application, with low upfront hardware costs and affordable annual subscription fees. When it comes to post-event investigation, no longer will insurance assessors have to trawl through reams of footage (if the insured happened to have a dashcam on board) to isolate the incident because modern dash cam solutions contain software-based video management systems, through which all events footage can be easily managed with a central dashboard that logs events by description, date, time and type. Best of all, because footage storage is cloud-based, it cannot be tampered with or destroyed even if the car itself is destroyed.
With the latest dash cam technology insurers can now proactively monitor customers and receive a stream of information which helps them to determine whether a claim is valid, how to tailor products and improve costs by providing what is effectively an off-site vehicle DVR (Digital Video Recorder) system, combined with front and (optional) rear dash cams with multiple sensors and 4G connectivity to provide real-time cloud-based vehicle tracking and monitoring.
“With a dash cam solution in place insurers will finally have the ability to enforce honesty in insurance claims to significantly reduce the impact of the cost of fraud on both the insurance industry as a whole and at an individual consumer level. Add easy scalability to the mix thanks to a cloud platform, and today’s dashcam system is everything that insurance providers, claims assessors and fleet managers have been dreaming about, and more.”