Global UBI data pool booms with LexisNexis acquisition

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Auto insurance companies working with global powerhouse LexisNexis now have access to literally billions of miles of driving data.

The insurance solutions service announced last week that it had completed its acquisition of Wunelli, a UK-based telematics data company operating in the UK, Australia and South Africa. The combined database of usage-based insurance data will help bring telematics “experience, solutions, scores and unique data assets…that can help advance existing telematics offering and provide our customers with greater ROI, and faster speed to market,” said LexisNexis CEO of Insurance Bill Madison.

Thanks to the acquisition, LexisNexis now has access to one of the largest provider-held insurance telematics databases in the world. That means insurers can do all their modeling from one source—something they may not have been able to achieve in the past.

“Now our customers have enough data to independently build statistically relevant, actuarially sound models from,” David Lukens, LexisNexis director of vertical marketing, Insurance told Insurance Business. “That’s huge because you don’t want to have to refer to other places to fill in the gaps.”

And it’s not just the volume of data that LexisNexis considers helpful. Lukens noted that European companies like Wunelli have had a “five-year head start” on US telematics companies, and consequentially provide more diverse datasets.

“They do have experience in a lot of things that aren’t done here,” he said. “I don’t want to give away any secrets, but Wunellli provides contextual information so it’s not just a series of hard brake events—it also factors in context like road types, speed and time of day. That’s very appealing to us.”

That data is easily applicable in the US, as many driving behaviors are universal. And the end result? More accurate rates—something that should be appealing to insurance producers.

“To the agent marketplace, the end result is if the end user gets more accurate rates—which often means lower prices—that really influences the relationship between the agent and the insured in a positive way,” Lukens said. “I think telematics is a big game changer in that way.”

LexisNexis is not shy about its embrace of telematics, despite roughly a third of the US population saying they refuse to consider giving up their privacy in exchange for a few dollars in insurance savings. The company is even operating a pilot program exploring the use of telematics for small commercial fleets with an eye toward releasing a more permanent program next year.

“We find that a lot of smaller fleets, like those affiliated with artisan contractors, landscaping and plumbing, could benefit a lot from the same solutions,” Lukens said. “It’s available now, but it’s very expensive. We want to bring them in at a lower price point.”

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