The loss control discipline has evolved in a significant way: from its primarily inspection-based mentality of the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, to the consultative-based mentality of today.
As the industry has evolved, the reputation of those in loss control has improved. And loss control professionals are working hard to partner with customers, agents, and brokers.
Effective solutions will not only manage risk but also drive business retention and results and help insurers provide quality experiences for their customers. Those who work in the property-casualty insurance industry, particularly agents and brokers, should be familiar with new loss control technology and risk management techniques. This article highlights some of the most important technologies affecting the industry in the areas of business auto, property liability, and general liability and workers compensation.
First, let us examine recent innovations in business auto technology. As many know, business auto is not a stellar line of coverage for the insurance industry at this time—but adopting new technologies may help improve its profitability. In recent years, these technologies have emerged:
- Forward collision warning system—This is a basic system that tells the driver the rate of closure on the vehicle in front of him or her. Drivers are alerted to slow down by a sound through the speakers or a flashing light on the dashboard or windshield. Some of these systems also incorporate automatic emergency braking, which actively brake for the driver if needed. This emergency braking is even effective for fully loaded trucks.
- Blind spot detection and warning system— Every driver of a vehicle must deal with blind spots. A blind spot detection system provides a warning light whenever a car is located in a driver’s blind spot and is another way in which auto manufacturers are working to avoid collisions.
- Adjustable or intelligent speed-limiting devices—Adjustable speed-limiting devices are built into an automobile’s computer system and allow a driver to set a maximum speed. In a commercial setting, this can be used to keep a business’s drivers from speeding. The intelligent speed-limiting system, which is expected to be more available over the new few years, has a forward-facing camera built into its system. This device knows speed limits in certain areas and has the ability to read speed limit signs and adjust an automobile’s speed accordingly.
- Curve control—Curve control uses technology to sense G-force as an auto enters a corner. If a driver is taking a curve too quickly, curve control will reduce torque in the engine (slowing the auto down as much as ten miles per hour/per second) and apply the brakes to keep a car from sliding through a curve.
In addition to these auto-based technologies, advanced mobile applications are also reducing auto accidents by alerting drivers when they speed, brake too hard, accelerate too quickly, and so on. Mobile sensors can be placed in an auto or work from a smartphone application. Both can be very successful, and their telematic feedback can be useful for underwriters.
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