Insurtech: ITS Telematics Highlights Value of Analysing Low Speed Incidents

Adam Gooch, Commercial Director at ITS Telematics, looks at the role in-car technology can play in settling any disputes arising after low velocity impacts on the roads.

Low Velocity Impacts (LVI) and associated whiplash claims have a mixed reputation in the insurance industry. LVI claims have long been a problem for insurers, who have had to constantly adjust and re-strategize how best to deal with these type of cases; factoring in changes in legislation and new industry standards. Historically, LVI claims have been disproportionally costly and time consuming to investigate and handle through to a conclusion. However, as technology continues to form an increasingly integral part of the claims and evidential gathering process, LVI claims will hopefully become less burdensome for the insurer.

A stereotypical LVI will usually involve a collision between two slow-moving vehicles (car park collisions), or between a slow-moving vehicle and a stationary object/vehicle, where the speed and forces generated on impact are thought to have been insufficient enough to trigger the whiplash mechanism, thus rendering injury to one’s person improbable or unlikely.

For an insurer, whiplash claims resulting from a LVI scenario can really affect their bottom line. This is due to the often long and protracted cost of an investigation, combined with the possibility of defending a claim through to litigation. Such claims rely strongly on medical, engineering evidence, witness testimonies, subjective personal opinion, and camera footage where available; all of which can be fallible, inconsistent, and up for dispute.


The rise of “crash for cash” scams in the last decade has seen insurers continue to pay out millions in unwarranted compensation, which increases premiums for honest drivers who suffer the financial consequences of fraudulent claims. In 2017 the Association of British Insurers reported that the value of detected fraudulent motor insurance claims stood at £775 million, and personal injury claims are responsible for a significant proportion of this figure.

When assessing LVI claims, insurers face a difficult challenge to ascertain what level of compensation to offer when a personal injury claim is intimated, if indeed any offer should be made at all. A report of whiplash in these instances can be highly subjective; much reliance or acceptance, at least initially, is placed on the claimant being a credible, reliable historian. However, where there is the potential for compensation to be paid out on a claim, a claimant’s credibility cannot always be taken at face value. It falls to the insurer to scrutinise this credibility, in accordance with pre-defined case law, once causation is raised an issue, and this where technology can provide real benefits.

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in helping insurers to detect fraudulent claims and provide indisputable, evidential proof of an accident as it occurred. Integrated vehicular technology such as cameras, automated braking, and black box telematics have enabled insurers to gather an unprecedented level of information on a reported incident; information which can then be used to validate and invalidate claims as they materialise.

Data from black boxes, in particular, can be an invaluable tool for an insurer. This is because the box captures and provides objective, unbiased, and extremely accurate information following an incident, such as accelerometer, g-force, speed and positional data. Where the human mind fails to remember, the machine can retain a virtually unlimited amount of information, and this is where the technology can really bring financial benefits to the insurer if used to their advantage.


Insure Telematics Solutions recently assisted an insurer client on a LVI case, where a personal injury claim was made. The insurer concerned received initial notification of the incident via their policyholder, who reported having collided into the rear of a third-party motorist at low speed. The policyholder also reported that minimal damage had been sustained to their respective vehicles. Based on the report, the insurer was sceptical as to the legitimacy of the personal injury claim later filed by the third party driver.

The insurer subsequently liaised with ITS, following which they compiled a detailed telematics claims report based on the black box data collected at the time of the incident. The telematics data verified that the insured vehicle was travelling at less than 5 mph at the point of the impact, with a low recorded g-force, essentially supporting the policyholder’s protestations. The insurer relied on the data within the ITS telematics claims report, and combined with other supporting evidence, the insurer subsequently repudiated the claimant’s injury claim, saving approximately £6,000 against their loss ratio in the process.

Had the policyholder not had a telematics device fitted, evidence otherwise used to dispute the validity of the claimant’s injury claim would have been limited, and the insurer may have been faced with the choice between a hefty payout, or, a protracted and costly dispute that may ultimately have led to Court proceedings being issued. For cases that do go to court, evidence from black boxes is now widely accepted, giving rise to a phenomenon known as “digital witnessing”; whereby the subjective, human element of testimony is replaced with an accurate, data-led report of events.

The motor insurance industry has long been hindered by the “he said, she said” nature of personal injury claims, but as technology continues to add transparency, accuracy, and irrefutable evidence to the mix, we are moving rapidly to a future based more on fact, and less on fiction.

Manufacturers have a huge opportunity with autonomous cars


Autonomous vehicles are set to be part of our transport future, which in theory should be good news for insurers as the human element of road accidents is gradually eradicated.

But can OEMs go further by embracing incorporated technologies into modern cars, so that location, speed and g-force during braking, plus a snapshot of any accident can be uploaded to an insurer’s website within seconds, thus settling the question of blame very quickly?

Yes, argues Adam Gooch, Commercial Director at Insure Telematics Solutions.

The motoring industry has always embraced innovation, from the first mass-produced vehicles rolling off the production line, to the autonomous, intelligent cars of today. As technology has developed and advanced, manufacturers have sought to cater to the growing consumer demand for in-car features, whilst gaining access to the significant financial and safety benefits such hardware can bring.

The EU commission is already pushing for the mandatory introduction of eleven new safety features as a standard in all cars by 2030. Amongst the proposed features are several technologies already in widespread use, including autonomous emergency braking, reverse assist cameras and the mandatory inclusion of event data recorders in cars and vans. Leading global manufacturers are beginning to recognise the vast benefits that the inclusion of inbuilt safety devices can bring, with tech giant Tesla incorporating an event data recorder into every vehicle since March of this year.

Telematics technology has gained rapid traction within the automotive industry over the last decade, as insurers, drivers, and manufacturers have begun to fully realise the power of big data. By adopting telematics technology early, Tesla has gained a real head start on its competition in terms of producing a complete and detailed map of exactly how its customers use their product.

One of the biggest arguments for standardised tech features, however, continues to be the role it can play in making drivers safer. All sectors of the automotive industry have a vested interest in reducing the amount of fatalities and serious accidents on our roads, from insurers looking to reduce compensation payouts, to the importance placed by consumers on vehicle safety track records. This last point is particularly pertinent from a manufacturer’s perspective, as a safety scare, whether genuine or perceived, can have a lasting impact on public perceptions of their brand.

Whilst human error continues to be a significant factor in many collisions, tech companies are making clear advances in the effort to minimise the element of unpredictability currently involved in driving. At Insure Telematics Solutions, we’ve developed an advanced crash algorithm in partnership with Microsoft Azure, using collision data from black box devices to build an extremely detailed picture of an incident. 

With a combination of AI and Machine Learning, the algorithm can determine genuine incidents from door slams and potholes, and create a data set revealing the actions that led to the collision occurring. Each recorded incident strengthens our algorithm’s ability to predict future accidents, and our risk scoring technology works alongside this to detect unusual driving behaviour and identify high risk drivers.


Technology can open up new and powerful streams of revenue for car manufacturers, with plentiful opportunities for direct consumer interaction, targeted advertising, and marketing collaborations. Consumers these days are used to targeted marketing, with personalised ads playing before TV programmes, suggested locations popping up on social media, and recommended purchases on online shopping platforms.

In a time sensitive society, we value functions that serve to streamline our days and make things easier for us, and there exists huge scope for OEMs to use technology to aid this. For example, using data from a black box, manufacturers could identify locations frequented by drivers, and offer targeted deals and experiences in partnership with other businesses. Onboard telematics could identify when a car is due an MOT, notify the driver, and direct them to a nearby partner garage.

Manufacturers could also begin to offer customers personalised purchase recommendations, based on black box information such as location, weather, and fuel consumption. Dealerships would then be able to provide tailored services to potential customers, whilst speeding up the purchase process for the buyer. The kind of data, gathered by a black box would previously have taken years to collect, and the opportunity to have daily interactions with customers is invaluable to any business.

By using this date to create bespoke services, OEMs can demonstrate a real understanding of their customers, building a lasting relationship that extends far beyond a one off transaction. Personalised services also provide brilliant opportunities to generate consumer engagement and targeted brand PR; critical in our highly competitive market.

Over the next few years we can expect to see an increasing amount of tech incorporated as part of the standard vehicle build. As the EU proposal continues to gain momentum, and consumers demonstrate an ever-growing appetite for new technologies, many manufacturers are beginning to take note of the benefits of incorporated technologies. From increasing safety and reducing fatalities and accidents, to the huge financial incentives they can offer, incorporated technologies like black boxes are here to stay.

posted on 11 September 2018 by Insurance Edge