OBD reader measures hard acceleration, braking and other variables to calculate insurance discounts.

Usage-based insurance is a ten dollar word for “let us spy on you and we will give you a discount.” Desjardins Insurance in Ontario seems to be getting into this new fad with Ajusto, which purports savings of up to 25% on premiums and a 5% discount for just signing up.

If you are not familiar with this kind type of insurance, here’s how it works: Desjardins sends you an OBD reader in the mail which connects to the Bell cellular network. It measures the distance you’ve travelled, how hard you accelerate and brake, and the time of day you’re typically on the road. Using this information, the insurer will give you a discount rating anywhere between 0 and 25%.

The insurer says the information will only be used for calculating insurance policy discounts, but I am always wary of these types of programs. Though, for new drivers, they are great for reducing incredibly high premiums.

Press release below.

New usage-based insurance program from Desjardins Insurance puts Ontarians in the driver’s seat

Drivers with good habits can now save up to 25 per cent on their car insurance

TORONTO, Ont, – Today, Desjardins Insurance is launching Ajusto, the first widely-available car insurance program in Ontario to offer savings centered on usage-based insurance technology. New and existing customers of Desjardins Insurance can now save up to 25 per cent more on their car insurance based on their driving habits.

“Desjardins Insurance is introducing an innovative and personalized technology that helps transform the traditional model of car insurance. By tailoring premiums to individual driving habits in addition to traditional predictive factors such as age, gender, type of vehicle and home location, drivers can now take control of their savings,” said Sylvie Paquette, President and COO of Desjardins General Insurance Group. “Ajusto is one step that makes car insurance more affordable for good drivers in Ontario.”

Ajusto is a free and voluntary program available to all Ontario car owners who drive a vehicle made in 1998 or later with limited exceptions. The savings begin when participating customers join the program and are applicable upon renewal of their insurance policy. The program measures three factors to determine cost savings:

  • Distance travelled annually (up to 10 per cent off)
  • Extent and frequency of hard braking and acceleration (up to 10 per cent off)
  • Time of day the vehicle is driven (up to 5 per cent off)

Premiums will not increase as a result of participating in the program nor will it result in any other adverse effects.  Customers can opt-out of the program at any time and without penalty.

“Savings with Ajusto are in addition to other savings offered by Desjardins Insurance.  Our studies show that our employees who participated in a pilot program were on track to achieve an average additional savings of 12 per cent,” said Ken Lindhardsen, Vice-President of Claims Operations and Legal Counsel. “When combined with other Desjardins Insurance savings, Ajusto represents the ultimate form of personalized insurance.”

Ajusto customers receive a small wireless telematics device that is quick and easy to install in the vehicle’s diagnostic port, which is usually located under the steering wheel. Customers can then track their driving habits and savings online. The information on the online dashboard, which is only accessible by the customer, includes a detailed graphic of the customer’s driving habits that is updated daily. The discount is calculated monthly.

The data collected by Ajusto is subject to strict privacy policies and is not used for any other commercial purposes. The data featured on the dashboard is analyzed by Desjardins Insurance on a confidential basis solely to determine savings.

Desjardins Insurance also offers a similar program, Intelauto, to clients of The Personal Insurance Company, a Canadian leader in group insurance. Ajusto and Intelauto are currently the only usage-based insurance programs to be approved by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) after passing a stringent review process. Both programs are also being launched today in Quebec, and will be offered in other provinces, following regulatory approvals.

While usage-based insurance programs are common in the United States, Britain and Europe, the Ajusto and Intelauto programs are a made in Canada solution. The wireless telematics device was developed by iMetrik, a Montreal-based technology company, and both programs run on Canada’s largest high-speed mobile network with Bell.

For detailed information on the Ajusto and Intelauto programs, please visit http://www.ajusto.com/qc/en or www.intelauto.ca.

For an overview of Ajusto, go to www.youtube.com/mouvementdesjardins.

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