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Big Ideas: “Contextualized telematics (CT) apps can improve driver behavior and reduce insurance costs” with Andy Gastley, President of A. G. Roth Insurance

Many people are familiar with telematics that measure the speed, braking, hard turns, acceleration and such as a driver. CT overlays terrain, traffic, road conditions, weather, cell phone handling and more on a telematics platform. Thus, the information from the CT measures driving behavior better than standard telematics. Insurance companies will be able to price […]

Many people are familiar with telematics that measure the speed, braking, hard turns, acceleration and such as a driver. CT overlays terrain, traffic, road conditions, weather, cell phone handling and more on a telematics platform. Thus, the information from the CT measures driving behavior better than standard telematics. Insurance companies will be able to price based on a scoring system. If a driver score drops, the premium will rise, or coverage will be terminated. As the score improves, so will pricing.


Asa part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the the pleasure of interviewing Andy Gastley, President of A. G. Roth Insurance. Mr. Gastley provides risk management and insurance brokerage on a national basis.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I consider myself an artist, and so do others. I’ve had some of my oil paintings stolen which I take as a high compliment. All that to say, I am right/left brained in a left-brain business — insurance. I have a high level of curiosity. As Iggy Pop said, “Curious seems to pay some unexpected
dividends” as his closing line with Anthony Bourdain’s’ show in FL

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I used to be an insurance adjuster. A truck struck a cyclist (he was ok), but it totaled his expensive bike. I made an offer to buy the wrecked bike, fixed it up and started to ride. I got into road biking, got my boys into it as well.

Many things have happened because I bought the bike: My son met
his wife after a ride where we congregated — got a grandson out of the deal. I traded houses with a fellow biker — yes, traded. Got new teeth — oops. Been in some great races and more….

Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
I believe smartphone contextualized telematics (CT) apps will change/improve driver behavior and vehicle insurance pricing. What this means is that it allows the insurance company to monitor the way drivers drive, through a smartphone app. This will allow them to reward good drivers and drop poor ones.

This will lower cost, accidents. This will happen now and before wide adoption of autonomous vehicles.

How do you think this will change the world?
Many people are familiar with telematics that measure the speed, braking, hard turns, acceleration and such as a driver. CT overlays terrain, traffic, road conditions, weather, cell phone handling and more on a telematics platform. Thus, the information from the CT measures driving behavior
better than standard telematics. Insurance companies will be able to price based on a scoring system. If a driver score drops, the premium will rise, or coverage will be terminated. As the score improves, so will pricing.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?
I think, along with eventual autonomous vehicles, the roads will be much safer. This will decrease the accidents, which will reduce vehicle damage by a large percentage, goodbye auto body shops, and their suppliers. People won’t be getting hurt in large percentages, goodbye chiropractors, some medical facilities, plaintiff and defense attorneys (no tears here), but also –insurance agents — insurance companies — some will fail because of fewer premiums in the bucket. Used car dealers might feel the impact as well as salvage yards.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
I learned about telematics being in the insurance industry. Also, there is more use of onboard cameras. The companies that develop the apps are trying to sell to the large insurance companies in a top-down approach. I plan to market the program to insurance agents who work with commercial vehicle insurance. The app can help their clients babysit their drivers and modify their driving habits or fire them to improve claims results.

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
I have the app ready to deploy and need to develop the billing and marketing infrastructure.

What are your ‘5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started’’and why.
I first started by contacting insurance companies to sell on a broad roll out. Because of all the moving parts, it is moving too slow. After the company adopts the app, they must build an actuarial model for pricing and then file rates in every state where they plan to utilize. All this takes a lot of time and money. Next, I’m trying to set up an insurance program for logging trucks because I have access to another app that the loggers will all be using soon. This technology will drastically improve the claim results. The only problem is that very few companies will entertain the class of business.

I now am planning to roll out to insurance agents. I wish I started down this path sooner.

The future of work is a common theme. What can one do to “future proof” their career?
Insurance companies will rely on AI on a large segment of their underwriting. Become a programmer or actuary. If working with a company, get in a niche where the insurance is not a commodity purchase. Think aviation, bonds, captives, and spaces that can’t be pushed to a
computer.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?
Thomas Edison said while trying to invent the light bulb “I know a thousand things that don’t work.” I think persistence, flexibility, creativity rue the day.

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
Early in my career, I was an insurance adjuster. I had to bill for my time. This made me more time efficient and good at multitasking. Try keeping a journal of your time for a week, and you will become more effective with work.

Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? 
Uber has become ubiquitous as a transportation alternative to taxis. CT will make a similar mark in the vehicle insurance space. I have access to patented technology, a marketing plan, and there is a demand from commercial businesses to reduce/manage their auto premiums. The
commercial vehicles are the tip of the iceberg. By gaining usage in that space, the insurance companies will see the CT as the leader and must implement in personal lines space.

How can our readers follow you on social media?
Go to www.AGRoth.com where I will be starting a blog. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andygastley

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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