Russia is lagging behind China and the United States in the development of UBI car insurance

Russia is starting to lag significantly behind the world's development of auto Usage-based insurance (UBI). At the same time, the domestic market situation in 2020 was favorable, and the low distribution and high cost of telematics solutions remains a key deterrent. Such conclusions were reached by the authors of a study conducted by analysts of the "Smart Driving Laboratory" (SDL).

According to SDL experts, in 2020, the volume of the Russian UBI market did not show any noticeable growth. This is especially noticeable against the background of the United States, the EU and China, where lockdowns and the transition of the masses of the population to online work have led to acceleration in growth of this segment even above the 20% per year predicted by most analysts. It is worth noting that the base for growth in Russia is extremely low. For example, before the pandemic, the average global share of UBI in car insurance was just over 2%, while in the US-5%, in Italy-16%, in the UK-3%. In Russia, this indicator still floats around 1% without any pronounced dynamics.

In 2020, the Russian auto insurance market has developed quite favorable conditions for the introduction of innovations. Because of the pandemic, cars have become less likely to get into accidents and they have become much less likely to be stolen. In addition to the effect of the pandemic, which led to a reduction in mileage by 12% and a reduction in losses of insurance companies for Generally Compulsory Third-Party Insurance (CTP) by 14% (for comprehensive сover by 6% with an increase in the number of contracts), car owners began to buy comprehensive сover more often. The number of existing contracts with individuals showed an increase of 12%. Moreover, this growth was not due to sales of new cars and car loans, as it was previously, but due to large discounts on rollovers for break-even customers. The penetration rate of comprehensive сover to CTP has increased to a record 9.6% (still extremely low).

This development was supposed to lead to an increase in the popularity of UBI products, as it happened around the world, but this has not yet happened.

According to Alexander Morozov, Director of the Statistics and Analytics Department of the Smart Driving Labs: "The main conclusion for 2020 is that the reduction in insurance premiums does not keep pace with the reduction in average risks. The individualization of the offer and the growth of UBI penetration are the logical response to close this gap. We can see how this works on the example of the markets of the United States, China, Italy and other countries. In the Brazilian market, where we are present, this trend is not so large-scale yet, but in 2020 it also became quite noticeable. In Russia, this does not happen due to the low distribution of cars equipped with telematics, the high cost of telematics units and the unwillingness to take on the costs of their installation by any of the market participants. The extremely small share of direct sales of policies also negatively affects the distribution of UBI, which makes the process of installing equipment and assessing the client's risks even more difficult."

In UBI, the insurance offer is individualized based on data on actual driving – how much and where the car drives, how often the driver violates the rules, exceeds the speed limit, or makes dangerous maneuvers. This data is collected in three ways: through the so – called "black boxes"-permanently installed in the car connected to the Internet devices with an accelerometer and GPS/GLONASS chip, through mobile applications or simple GPS trackers that are attached to the windshield. The spread of UBI in the West and China is associated with the growth of the share of new cars, already with the conveyor equipped with Connected car solutions (they almost always include a "black box"), as well as investments of insurance companies in the development of mobile applications and the formation of a database of "rental" devices that the client receives together with the policy for the insurance period. In some cases, the cost of the device is borne by the policyholder, receiving additional benefits.