Sprint, the wireless product and services giant, is looking to become a force in another arena.
The Overland Park, Kan.-based company recently launched Integrated Insurance Solutions, a set of integrated, end-to-end usage-based insurance services designed specifically for the auto insurance industry.
Through the new offering, insurance carriers will have the ability to give customers personalized discounts based on their driving habits. The product works by fitting vehicles with a small device that plugs into the diagnostic port, which allows insurance companies to capture vehicle information and driver behavior data to then be transmitted over the Sprint wireless network.
A cloud-based system analyzes the data with driver scoring software that enables insurance carriers to improve driver risk assessments, reduce costs and improve profitability, Sprint said.
“Basically, it’s a turnkey solution to track and retain high quality customers and reduce fraud,” said George Kandt, product marketing manager for Sprint’s Emerging Solutions Group. “Sprint is the first wireless carrier to bring this to market.”
With ISS, Sprint said insurance carriers will be able to identify better drivers and reduce risk. Carriers can also receive detailed analytical data about participating policyholders’ driving behaviors.
In addition to “pay as you drive” programs that provide discounts to consumers based on driving behavior, insurance carriers can also offer their customers value-added services, such as Web-based solutions that let them monitor their vehicle health, tips on how their driving behavior can be adjusted to be more fuel efficient and tools to monitor their vehicles’ location.
Kandt said Sprint had been working on ISS for about a year with various partners and that more companies are coming on board. The goal is to work with all the players in the usage-based insurance space, he noted. Their ISS programs can be customized based on their needs.
Sprint’s new insurance solutions could potentially open the door for partnerships with credit unions and others in financial services, Kandt said. Over the past few years, the marketing of auto starter interruption devices has caught the attention of lenders. Designed to prevent vehicle owners from starting the ignition, the purpose of the device is to ensure on-time payments. While some financial institutions have embraced the devices as delinquent loans and as repossessions rise, credit unions have been slow to accept the technology.
“We would like to expand this as broadly as possible,” said Randy Spolter, a Sprint corporate communications officer. “If there are financial institutions that are interested in ISS, we would like to talk to them.”
To that end, Sprint has also announced that it is offering its three-month Jump Start UBI Trial Program, an industry first, the company said. Through the trial, insurance carriers, credit unions and others that want to give the program a trial run can do so to evaluate the return on investment of ISS. Kandt said the pilot would be conducted internally with employees.
So far, Sprint has worked with Esurance on its UBI pilot program for policyholders in Arizona. Based on the success of that program, Esurance recently launched its first UBI offering for consumers in Texas.