Blog | Connected Insurance

Lessons Learned in Developing an Insurance App+Tag Solution

July 23, 2020

In the last 15 years, insurers have tried a multitude of solutions to provide connected insurance. After many years trialing various types of installed devices, the majority of insurers have now settled with mobile-centric solutions. With 15 million devices shipped to date, the most successful iteration today is CMT’s patented App+Tag solution. Recently, a number of other tags have been announced and that prompted us to look back at what we have learned in five years of training and updating the DriveWell Tag.

It came down to three things: 

  • Technical capabilities that made our partners’ program successful, 
  • Patented innovation and the ability to scale end-user experience, and 
  • A proven track record of delivering consistent, reliable performance and the highest quality data

Most tags’ technical capabilities may look similar at first sight but generating consistent driver data to actuaries is rarely straightforward and relies on solving many small problems. One of them is data reliability. To ensure all trips are counted, the DriveWell Tag provides insurers a unique set of features.

The Tag has a four-year battery life with over-the-air firmware upgrades; it connects via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) so re-linking to the mobile is automatic. As a result, drivers never have to think about it twice for the duration of their contract.

Additionally, the Tag includes a high-frequency accelerometer that augments phone sensors to help CMT identify, measure, and classify risky events. Uniquely, the Tag can record trips even if the phone is not in the car.

To enable Tag-only trip detection, CMT trained and tested its algorithms to identify outliers and tune filters. Once re-synced, the Tag’s data complexity and reliability level requires time and mileage so the platform can identify and suppress contradictory readings that could affect the driver scores.

Another unique capability of the CMT technology is our patented algorithm for matching trajectories to the actual road network. This is specifically effective in correcting GPS errors linked to bridges, underpasses, and tall buildings (urban canyons). Those errors can lead to a vehicle appearing to be quite far from its true location or traveling at unreasonable speeds. Only one of those errors will suffice to lose the driver’s trust in the app

That is why CMT’s algorithms use information about adjacent speeds and positions of the vehicle to smooth out these kinds of short-term anomalies. Our map matching algorithm also helps filter out GPS drifting when a vehicle is stopped, so that the total mileage measured is a more accurate measure of true distance traveled. As a result, CMT’s solution is now also the best App+Tag option for mileage-based programs.

How much processing is done on the Tag and how much data is sent to the phone – including firmware updates – was also an important consideration. And with end-to-end data authentication and encryption, CMT has continually enhanced the data privacy and security protocols so the data is tamper-proof and can be used for crash forensics.

The logistical capabilities of offering millions of Tags was also an important challenge that required investment and thought leadership. In order to provide durability in the field and reactivity to our partners logistics needs, CMT had to take end-to-end control over the Tag’s manufacturing process. Built in Massachusetts, the Tag’s quality is constantly monitored and improved. Even shipping has also required research and innovation to put the Tag in deep sleep to ensure the batteries did not discharge in storage.

Time, manufacturing quality, and volume are critical factors in ensuring our partners’ programs are successful. Yet CMT’s constant technological innovation in each of those fields would have come to nothing without its complete focus on the end user experience.

For instance, defining the thresholds that detect trip start and stop is a critical factor that CMT has patented. Driver confidence in the trip logs and the scores is utterly crucial, so CMT’s engineers have put countless hours driving and testing to get it right.

In addition, because CMT collects data from millions of Tags paired to millions of phones worldwide, the scoring methodology needed to be calibrated to sustain the variations and anomalies that occur in the sensor data produced by the many different phone models.

User experience also becomes harder to control with scale. For example, in order to address all markets, battery consumption becomes a factor requiring time, research, and innovation. Temperature affects battery performance so the manufacturing process needs to adapt.

With scale, the number of use cases also multiplies, so CMT’s Tag is able to self-diagnose and identify if it is loose or fitted in the wrong place. This is critical as any faulty or badly-affixed tag requires support, meaning time loss, reverse logistics, and additional costs that directly impact the take-up rate and the budget of your telematics program.

This is why our Customer Success team is such an important part of our solution. They can work with our partners on maximizing enrollment in their programs by anticipating issues with Tag installs. CMT has accumulated years of procedures and best practices on items such as language for shipping materials to make sure people actually install the Tag.

Overcoming the challenges in providing App+Tag solutions is the result of years of experience. Our track record is the result of that experience, but it is also what fuels the constant improvement of our solution.

More than 6 million DriveWell Tags are on the road today collecting driver data at a pace of around one billion miles a week. This is how we can provide the best driver and actuarial scoring services on the market

Those volumes have enabled CMT to become the most mature and largest crash detection and rescue service based on App+Tag. Crash alert is a very complex and sensitive area. Understanding the difference between vibration from a pothole, idling, or a low level crash takes years.

App+Tag delivers two data streams to use for everything from mileage calculations, to driving behavior analysis/scoring, and crash detection and reconstruction. Ground truth data produced by the Tag over the years has enabled CMT to perfect the mobile-only offer to a point where both are highly efficient individually.

Our Tag is already a proven winner and we’re continuously improving it thanks to the enormous corpus of data from having millions of Tags in the world, the patents developed by our expert data scientists and engineers, and our ability to control its specs and quality by manufacturing it ourselves. No other tag on the market comes close.

And we are just getting started!