Use Insurance Telematics to Tackle Teen Drivers’ Biggest Threat

teen-driving-safetyAsk a group of parents if they’re anxious about their teen sons or daughters, and you’re guaranteed to hear a “yes.” Ask them what their main concern is, and they’ll probably answer drugs and alcohol. That’s what a recent National Safety Council survey found.

Substance abuse aside, parents’ top worries include “bullying, Internet safety, teen pregnancy and school shootings,” said Christie Boyden at Property Casualty 360. It’s good that parents are thinking about those risks. Problem is? The greatest threat to teen safety isn’t even on that list.

76 percent of parents don’t know that collisions are the biggest threat to teen safety. They also aren’t thinking of insurance telematics as a potential solution … yet.

“Only 24% of parents identified hazardous driving or car crashes as their biggest safety concern for children ages 15-19,” Boyden said. The National Safety Council calls that a problem.

According to Deborah Hersman, CEO of the NSC, for years statistics have shown that “the first year of driving is a particularly deadly time in a teen’s life.” In 2013, for example, deaths in the 15-24 age group due to car accidents outnumbered all non-transportation accidents combined.

When parents consider UBI for their teens, they’re thinking discounts.

Clearly, teens are a high-risk demographic. And in the auto insurance industry, high risk translates to higher premiums – a fact of which parents are well aware. By starting their newly-licensed son or daughter with usage-based insurance, parents who foot the bill could save 10 to 30 percent.

That’s a popular reason to connect the dots between teens and UBI. But it’s not the reason insurers should be leading with.

What parents should be thinking about is education.

Insurance telematics offers a tremendous opportunity to partner with young, inexperienced drivers, score their skills, provide driver coaching and ultimately make them safer on the road.

That’s a desirable package for teens, since the benefits are delivered via smartphone app. It’s also a better way to market smartphone telematics in general – focusing on increased safety rather than decreased rates.

Parents know they can’t go everywhere with their kids, like an angel on their shoulder, whispering into their ear (or shouting!) to keep them safe. But their kids’ smartphones can. Smartphone telematics offers complete engagement with new drivers and ongoing driver education.

Partner with parents to educate teens, and expand your market share.

We encourage insurers to make a special effort to reach out to parents. Present your offerings not just as a commodity to be bought or sold, but as a cooperative, ongoing relationship through which your offerings can equip their kids with the skills they need to survive the most dangerous risk they’re up against.

While you’re at it, check out our recent whitepaper to learn how you can appeal to parents of teenage drivers through ancillary services like driving reports, curfews and geo-fencing alerts – not only differentiating your brand, but introducing new revenue streams at the same time.

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