Ford striking up insurtech partnerships
Ford striking up insurtech partnerships
Automaker Ford has been busy in the insurance and insurtech space lately, striking up partnerships with insurtechs Wejo, CerebrumX and J.D. Power-owned ChromeData for telematics and vehicle data functions, plus its foray into commercial insurance with Pie Insurance.

“There’s so much data coming off a vehicle that you can use that data to benefit your customer,” said Kirby Harris, director of insurance operations at Ford Credit. “That gives us much more direct information to use to assess risk.”

On Nov. 29, Wejo Group announced an expansion of insurance data services in collaboration with Ford. Wejo, a provider of connected, electric and autonomous vehicle data, linking with Ford, will make it possible for carriers to use this data to get insights on driving behavior. 

Wejo’s cloud-based ADEPT platform processes this vehicle data. The insurtech works with other vehicle makers as well. ADEPT takes data from OEMs [original equipment manufacturers], manages the filtering and cleaning of that data and then puts that data through to insurers, explained Benoit Joly, chief commercial officer of Wejo. 

Connected vehicle data addresses several issues for insurers, added Matthew Bialuk, senior vice president of insurance and dealership at Wejo. “It’s no secret that connected vehicle data is the answer for automotive insurance going forward, for multiple reasons, including transparency and customer value,” he said. “There’s a very long list of value propositions and use cases that can be applied to the problems, stemming from conversing with insurance carriers globally.”

Wejo also manages drivers’ consent to collection of their data to be compliant with GDPR privacy regulation, according to Bialuk. GDPR governs Europe, but the U.S. and other countries are using it as a basis for their own privacy rules. “Technically speaking platform-wise it’s absolutely no different for us to manage data from an OEM in Europe or in the U.S.,” said Joly.

When partnering with insurtechs, Harris said, “Ford requires that insurers that want to use that data agree to comply with specific requirements around responsible use of the data, including gaining explicit consent from their customers.”  

On Nov. 14, CerebrumX Lab, an AI-driven automotive data management platform, announced it would begin using Ford’s connected vehicle telematics data to support a data-driven usage-based insurance (UBI) model for insurers. CerebrumX also works with other OEMs including Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai and Kia. The platform has contracted access to 16 million to 18 million vehicles from OEMs in North America, with about 5 million of these vehicles from Ford.

CerebrumX’s partnership with Ford makes it possible for UBI insurers to get more accurate driving data to document safe driver behavior for rewards programs. This data can also be used by insurers to assess risk and customize policies. CerebrumX is using its Augmented Deep Learning Platform (ADLP) to manage the data for UBI coverage and risks.

Having this data makes it possible to credibly apply AI/ML and deep learning algorithms to include details on road conditions, according to Sumit Chaunhan, chief operating officer and co-founder of CerebrumX.

“Let’s say I’m driving my car at 50 miles an hour. 50 miles an hour is just a number unless you put certain context around it,” he said. “The context is whether I was driving at night or during the day. Was it rainy? Was it a little gloomy in terms of visibility versus bright sunshine? What was the road condition? You can determine that based on Google maps where actual road conditions are depicted or the traffic is depicted. You can also get it from other sources.”

There’s also relevant information to be found about what’s going on inside the vehicle, Chaunhan added. “Was it a teenager who was driving the car? Was it somebody who’s driven the car for 10 years?” he said. “Part of ADLP is that we provide algorithms and intelligence to process the data with the right context because we incorporate contextual information from sources other than the car itself, to provide a full set of information about what’s actually going on.”

CerebrumX plans to add camera capabilities to ADLP, including both forward and cabin or interior facing cameras. “To determine the real reason why a crash occurred, the circumstances could involve what was actually going on inside the cabin,” Chaunhan said. “Was the driver distracted by any means, by a call or talking to a passenger or a backseat passenger or being in an inebriated condition? What was happening on the road? Was there a pedestrian crossing? Was there an animal that crossed the road? When you’re able to stitch all these data elements together in real time to recreate what happened in a crash, that is when you will have the real picture in terms of where the liability is set.”

Lastly, Ford kicked off November with another insurtech partnership addressing vehicle data that exists before the first mile is driven. On Nov. 10, Ford and J.D. Power ChromeData partnered to provide Ford vehicle data to ChromeData’s VIN descriptions service. 

Under the partnership, ChromeData will get vehicle information directly from Ford as the OEM, which in turn will make insurance quotes more accurate. With VIN data, insurers can determine what features a vehicle has, which is useful for insurers as well as auto financing and valuation. Adding Ford to its data, ChromeData will cover about 80% of all automotive brands in the US.

“Not only does Ford’s vehicle build data further expand the benefits of our services, but it also provides dealers and other industry partners with a better understanding of which features come with each Ford and Lincoln vehicle,” said Craig Jennings, president of the Autodata Solutions division at J.D. Power, in a statement. 

Source: Digital Insurance

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