It is no secret that cars have turned into mobile computers, with tech companies like
Google developing cars, and traditional car manufacturers investing billions in I.T.
As technology advances, our vehicles and driving habits are changing. But one aspect of car ownership that has been slow to adapt is
Enter U.K.-based start-up, Flock Insurance. In their own words, "Flock was founded on the conviction that insurance was no longer fit for purpose in our fast-moving, hyper-connected world."
While this might sound precocious, Flock have just secured millions in funding from some powerful investors. Read on to learn how they plan to embrace the digitization of driving and disrupt the commercial car insurance market.
Where did Flock commercial insurance come from?
As reported by
TechCrunch, Flock was founded in the U.K. in 2016, and began life as an academic project into risk analysis for "connected" vehicles. That is vehicles which have digital tracking signals, like built-in GPS.
During the project, they realized the extent to which traditional insurance companies are struggling to keep up with changes to our driving habits.
CEO Ed Leon Klinger says, "Transportation is changing faster than ever, but the traditional insurance industry can’t keep up...electric cars, new business models such as ridesharing, and the emergence of autonomous vehicles pose huge challenges that traditional insurers just aren’t equipped for."
Flock believed they could bridge the gap between traditional insurance and emerging technologies. They would use tracking devices to monitor vehicle usage, and determine premiums based on that, rather than long-established risk factors which are often outdated.
In 2018, Flock began offering usage-based drone insurance, which proved to be the perfect testing ground for their product. Last year, they expanded into commercial fleet insurance, a $160 billion market, and investors began to take notice.
Why are investors excited about Flock’s commercial insurance?
Flock isn’t the first company to use telematics to influence insurance premiums. In fact, most major insurers now offer a usage-based policy, like
Drivewise from Allstate.
What sets Flock apart is their insistence on _only _using a vehicle’s telematics device to determine risk. Traditional commercial insurers factor in other data points, like the business address, credit rating, and claims history.
Flock only charges for insurance when the vehicle is actually moving. You don’t pay for the time your vehicle spends sitting in a lot, out of harm’s way. They claim to price their insurance on a "per second basis."
This commitment to using a vehicle’s technology has excited investors, and Flock has already received $17 million in funding from Social Capital, the investment vehicle run by Virgin Galactic chairman, Chamath Palihapitiya. This brings total funding to $22 million.
Quoted by TechCrunch, Palihapitiya said, "By using real-time data to truly understand vehicle risk...Flock has the potential to help unlock and enable a truly autonomous world, and even save lives. We’re excited to be a part of their journey."
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Flock’s ambition is exciting for consumers. If they can disrupt the industry with lower premiums we will all save some money. For the time being however, they are only offering commercial car insurance coverage.
The service is totally free and the average Jerry user saves $879 a year on car insurance.