Letters - Insurance telematics can help ensure safer bus trips

The Pagoh bus accident, which took the lives of 14 and injured 16, could have been avoided if the insurance telematics introduced by the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool (MMIP) was in place.

MMIP had launched its Safe and Sound Campaign to introduce the telematics product as a key initiative to address bus accidents. The goal was to work with bus operators to ensure safe, comfortable and reliable transport service.

The campaign had taken effect for policies renewed from Feb 1, 2016 onwards on a basis of mandatory installation with 10% discounts on premiums.

However, the mandatory installation was opposed by bus operators and SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission) forcing MMIP to offer it on a voluntary basis. There was minimal take up on a voluntary basis and the campaign was unsuccessful.

SPAD was against the campaign because there was already a mandatory GPS system. However, GPS systems are a subset of the components used in telematics and generally used for tracking the location of vehicles only.

Insurance telematics is an insurance product that is used for risk management and loss mitigation, allowing the driver's behaviour and handling of a vehicle to be used to output a measurable risk profile score. This risk profile score is reflective of the driving nature of the driver, having taken into consideration the type of vehicle, the telematics and environmental data from the vehicle sensors, as well as the location and time of travel.

As insurance telematics is a specialised system with its own positioning system, legacy tracking systems cannot be co-opted for this purpose as they are not set up to precisely measure many of the parameters required for driving nature computation. Bus operators will need to install an insurance telematics device specifically designed and programmed for this purpose.

Insurance telematics has proven to be an effective tool in the quest to improve road travel. It has helped bus operators improve customer satisfaction, reduce premiums, and reduce costs. It has helped the people with improved bus services, increased safety, comfort and reliability. It has helped insurers improve their claims experience and reduced premiums.

The campaign brochure mentions that telematics insurance will enable MMIP to monitor the drivers' behaviour 24x7. It mentions graded premium discounts for good driving behaviour. This means that bus operators who encourage good driving among their drivers will enjoy even greater savings in their insurance premiums.

We know that MMIP will compensate the victim in accordance with provisions in civil law. However, the next of kin of dead victims, who were not employed at the time of accident, will only be reimbursed for funeral expenses and some family members will receive a bereavement compensation.

Concerned Citizen
Kuala Lumpur