Discovery Insure working with local IoT company to boost vehicle insurance product’ [Q&A]


SA insurance company Discovery is looking to incentivise clients to improve their driving behaviour and has invested in a US company and partnered with a SA Internet of Things (IoT) company to develop its Vitality Drive programme.

The insurance company in 2014 invested in US company Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) and has a 10% stake in the firm. This, while it is partnering with local company Sqwidnet.

Anton Ossip, CEO of Discovery Insure, responds to some emailed questions from Ventureburn and outlines how the company works with startups.

What insurtech and tech startups has the insurance company currently got agreements with?

Discovery Insure’s business model is based on incentivising our clients to improve their driving behaviour thereby creating value for our clients and society as a whole through safer roads.

Technology is a key enabler in this. As a result, Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) which is a US-based company, has been a key partner who initially helped to develop our Vitality Drive sensor and app solution that helps our clients to measure their driving and get real time feedback so they can improve.

Discovery Insure has a 10% stake in Cambridge Mobile Telematics and is also partnering with local company Sqwidnet

We are constantly looking to improve our research and development in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, and on the local front we have partnered with Sqwidnet.

As a data-driven business, the LPWA networks and more specifically Sigfox through its local deployment with SqwidNet will be important for us to expand our telematics and technology offerings in the insurance space.

Given our Vitality Drive platform, we see ourselves as a core insurtech business and this has been displayed in various forms through our main programme but also in other unique partnership models such as the Avis SafeDrive programme which we intend to scale globally.

Which insurtech companies has the insurance company invested in? 

We initially invested for a 20% shareholding in CMT back in 2014. This has been recently diluted to a 10% shareholding following the investment of $500-million by the Softbank Vision Fund into CMT. The details of this were presented in the annual results of Discovery.

Are you looking at investing in any more startups in the next few months?

The investment in Cambridge Mobile Telematics was fairly unique to our business at the time. We found a really good group of people who were building unique solutions and were happy to collaborate with us to build the technology we needed for our Vitality Drive program.

What kinds of solutions in insurance are you currently looking at?

We continually iterate to improve on our core Vitality Drive program and the corresponding technology as well as looking at how technology can help us in measuring and reducing risk.

What does Discovery consider when choosing who to work with? 

We have a set of procurement criteria for suppliers – we don’t have an standard process for startup or venture investment.

How important is BEE in choosing who to work with? Must the insurtech be black-owned?

BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) is important to us, and as Discovery we support its intended purpose. These considerations form a vital part of our approach as we bring smaller suppliers into our supply chain.

Featured image: Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip (Supplied)



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