Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
October, 26th 2012

Avi Marco, CTO, insurethebox

By Avi Marco

At insurethebox, a telematics-based car insurance company in the U.K., we focus on all aspects of data – integrating internal and external sources. Big Data is at the core of our business mission which is to focus on encouraging safe driving and helping to reduce the cost of car insurance, especially for young drivers.

 By placing a telematics device slightly bigger than a mobile phone under the dashboard and connecting it to a GPS and other sensors, we are able to capture data from these devices and analyze key aspects of driving, including how, where, when and for what duration the car is being driven – and at what speed.


The key to our business model is being able to turn all this data into value for the consumer. Our customers purchase an annual 6,000-mile or 8,000-mile insurance policy that can be topped up if they run out of miles, and customers who drive well at responsible speeds, and who take breaks on long trips, for example, can earn extra miles and apply them to their policies.

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To give you some idea of how “big” our Big Data is, think of it in these terms:  in excess of 300 million miles of data increasing at 25 million per month and 80 million trips, with each trip containing latitude, longitude, speed, G-force, type of road, length of trip and GPS quality. We have also managed 111,000 incident/crash alerts with data recorded at 100th of a second around point of impact, and over 30 million quotes in two years.

While these stats may leave you breathless, there’s more to come, as we anticipate data volumes to increase 100-fold in the near term thanks to ongoing advances in telematics.

A new global report on the real-world use of Big Data – based on a survey of 1,144 business and IT professional in 95 countries conducted by IBM and the University of Oxford’s Said Business School – reveals that less than half of the organizations engaged in Big Data efforts are currently analyzing external data, and only 43 percent are looking at social media for deeper understanding about consumer preferences. It’s clear that many businesses today are missing out on opportunities to turn information into insights to aid smarter decision-making and business outcomes.

At insurethebox, our challenge is finding ways to continuously innovate and adapt in order to make the most effective use of our data-driven business model. After all, to paraphrase Darwin, “It is not the biggest that survive, or the most intelligent, it will be those that are the most adaptable.” 

Big Data offers the chance to be smart and adapt – and to do this we must be smart about how we use it.

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