GPS and routing technology may impact insurance

|  July 20, 2017

Pest management professionals (PMPs) who use GPS and routing technology may not necessarily receive a discount on their insurance. They will, however, be able to head off problems that could lead to higher premiums.

Illustration: ©iStock.com/dikobraziy

Illustration: ©iStock.com/dikobraziy

Accidents happen

GPS software includes features that allow users to monitor driver behavior. Company owners can set up alerts that notify them when technicians brake hard or speed. They can then discipline drivers in an effort to stop behavior that can lead to accidents.

Steven Bojan

Frank MacDonald

“Typically, companies that utilize GPS, monitor it closely, set parameters, and hold drivers accountable statistically will have lower claims and loss ratios,” says Frank MacDonald, senior vice president, Select Insurance Agency.

The key is to make technicians aware of their hazardous driving so they can change their behavior. Companies may accomplish this by offering incentives (gift cards, paid time off, etc.) to drive safely, reminding technicians via email or during a performance review to be more careful, or terminating employees who fail to improve their poor driving habits.

Steven Bojan

Steven Bojan

“Individuals who have multiple hard braking incidents or drive at unsafe speeds are pushing the accident envelope and practicing for a crash that they are much more likely than the average driver to have in the future,” says Steven Bojan, vice president, Transportation Practice Leader, HUB International Ltd. “When a company takes steps to discipline and/or retrain an at-risk driver, it reduces the likelihood of that individual being involved in a crash in the future.”

Texting and talking on cell phones is another driving hazard that often leads to accidents. Many owners use GPS software to make it impossible for drivers to text or talk unless using hands-free technology.

“Distracted driving is an epidemic. It can cripple a business with the cost of auto insurance,” MacDonald says. “Some GPS systems offer technology that will disable a phone when a certain speed is reached. This technology is very cost effective and may be the best piece of ‘equipment’ to invest in this year.”

Hot wheels

Another benefit GPS software provides is the ability to show a vehicle’s location. This feature comes in handy for company owners who require technicians to park their vehicles in their garages when they bring them home, because they can know with more certainty whether their technicians complied with the request. In addition, a company vehicle that is stolen can be located more quickly, particularly if the GPS device is difficult to remove.

Torrence Brownyard

Torrence Brownyard

The bottom line is, GPS hardware and software, and routing technology, may help keep insurance claims in check.

“The major benefit of GPS vehicle tracking devices is assisting in the location and recovery of stolen vehicles, but insurers are considering offering reduced pricing for the use of GPS devices in vehicles,” says Torrence Brownyard, president, Brownyard Group. “With the advances in this technology, it will allow insurers to study driving habits and adjust rates accordingly by determining factors such as distance traveled, speeds traveled, etc.”

You can reach Managing Editor Sofranec at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

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