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2012 Innovation Awards: Onboard Advisor

2012 Innovation Awards: Onboard Advisor

Liberty Mutual Agency Corp.

Onboard Advisor

Global positioning systems used to help guide corporate fleet drivers on their routes also can provide direction for companies looking to save on insurance and fuel costs.

Liberty Mutual Agency Corp. launched its Onboard Advisor program early last year for the commercial auto insurance market. The program uses data from standard GPS and telematics systems to measure and analyze driver performance.

From there, company supervisors can view Onboard Advisor data online and use weekly and monthly reports to identify potentially problematic driver behavior, such as speeding.

By reducing bad driving habits, companies can boost their fleet safety and fuel efficiency, said Chris Carver, Seattle-based program manager for Liberty Mutual.

“The more you can empower the immediate supervisor with that real-time information, the more that you can dramatically improve the driving behavior,” said Mr. Carver, who calls the program a “safety-driven insurance” service.

Clients sign up for Onboard Advisor, which won a 2012 Innovation Award presented by Business Insurance, through insurance agents authorized to sell Liberty Mutual insurance products, though clients are not required to be insured through Liberty Mutual or its affiliated companies. The program is available to businesses that use specific telematics providers, such as Teletrac or Telenav.

Onboard Advisor is offered at no cost for two years and for $100 per year afterward for clients who do not buy a Liberty Mutual-affiliated policy. Companies that insure their fleets through Liberty Mutual can see a 15% initial premium discount when they use Onboard Advisor.

The service has about 2,000 users in 22 states. One client—a heating and cooling company—has used the system to track employees and prevent them from using company vehicles after hours, which has saved more than $5,000 in monthly fuel costs, Mr. Carver said.

Onboard Advisor has helped other companies steer employees away from habits that could lead to accidents and poor fuel economy, such as turning corners too quickly or hitting the brakes too hard.

“If you know, for instance, how long it's taken for that vehicle to go from Point A to Point B, we can determine were they traveling above the safe speed for that particular road, or did they brake aggressively on that particular road?” Mr. Carver said.

Such analysis led to a 40% reduction in problematic driving behaviors among users during the program's first six months, according to Liberty Mutual.

Mr. Carver said Onboard Advisor is geared primarily toward small and midsize companies that have fleets with fewer than 100 vehicles.

“You don't need to have a big organization and a big safety department in order to implement a tool like Onboard Advisor,” he said.

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