Octo Telematics to Buy Usage-Based Insurance Assets of Willis Towers Watson; Partnership Announced

Octo Telematics, the London-based provider of telematics for the auto insurance industry, announced it will acquire the usage-based insurance (UBI) assets of Willis Towers Watson and will create a partnership with the broker to develop insurance products.

These UBI assets include Willis Towers Watson’s DriveAbility solution and the DriveAbility Marketplace. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Key Willis Towers Watson personnel will also join the Octo team, notably Geoff Werner, who is a pioneer in the global telematics industry and has led the development and growth of DriveAbility, said Octo in a statement.

Following the transaction, the two companies will form a partnership, which will be led by Octo and guided by an advisory board chaired by Geoff Werner, who will report directly to Fabio Sbianchi, CEO of Octo. Willis Towers Watson will be represented on the advisory board by Duncan Anderson (global leader, Insurance Technology), and Tom Coughlin (national partner, Willis Towers Watson North America).

Octo explained that Willis Towers Watson’s DriveAbility aggregates and analyzes granular telematics and insurance data to provide driving scores. It also assists insurers as they design, score, issue and bind telematics-based insurance policies.

The insurance telematics industry is growing at a rapid pace, with nearly 100 million UBI policies expected worldwide by 2020, said Octo, quoting a 2016 study on UBI published by Ptolemus Consulting Group.

“This is producing ever-greater amounts of data that can assist insurers in accurately pricing risk,” said Octo. “Big data analytics are therefore crucial to break down telematics information such as driver behavior data to create driver scores, as well as carry out crash analysis and provide the full range of telematics benefits.”

“Insurance telematics is evolving far beyond the simple black box hardware. With ever-increasing data volumes being measured and recorded, the tools being used to analyze it and provide accurate driving behavior information to insurers must develop at a similar pace,” according to Octo’s CEO Sbianchi.

“It makes sense to join forces with Willis Towers Watson to pool resources and lead on further developing telematics propositions,” he added.

“Analyzing data for insurers and constantly improving our offer in this area will be the focus of our partnership with Octo,” said Alice Underwood, global leader, Insurance Consulting and Technology, Willis Towers Watson.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are creating “more exciting opportunities for data analytics, and working with Octo puts us in a great position to stay at the forefront of this rapidly evolving global industry,” she added. “We look forward to continuing to drive and improve the application of telematics and telematics data into an increasingly connected society.”

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