FA-insured Alberta truck fleets could slash premiums with telematics

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Alberta fleets and owner-operators insured by Facility Association (FA) will have a chance to cut their insurance premiums by up to 8% — if they accept video-based telematics devices in their vehicles.

The voluntary program, which begins May 1, is meant to help improve driving habits and correct poor driving behavior, with the goal of helping businesses qualify for standard insurance markets. Once the program is launched, FA says it will explore opportunities in other jurisdictions.

Foresight Analytics will install the related telematics device and manage the data, generating a daily score that reflects risks like red light violations, distracted driving, following too close, hard braking, late braking, weaving in lanes, harsh turns, no seatbelts, and lane violations.

Alberta flag
(Illustration: istock)

Facility Association won’t receive data about specific infractions, in the name of protecting driver privacy. But it will receive a score at the beginning of the program and when policies are renewed — as well as information about mileage driven outside the province, to help ensure that premiums reflect actual risks.

The non-profit association is essentially an insurer of last resort, providing coverage to those who can’t secure insurance from other providers. Any related risks are shared by other insurers throughout a jurisdiction. (FA operates in Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.)

“There are a variety of reasons why drivers end up with FA, but poor driving habits or behaviours are the most common,” Facility Association president and CEO Saskia Matheson said in a press release. “Being insured through FA is meant to be temporary. We believe that consumers are best served in an open and competitive insurance market and this new telematics program can help them get there.”

Concerning trend in Alberta

But trends in Alberta have been particularly troubling, with FA insuring 47% more vehicles in 2021 than it did in 2020. Numbers increased another 14% in 2022 compared to 2021.

“We’ve seen it trending in the wrong direction,” vice-president – government relations and communications Derek Tupling told TruckNews.com. “Our objective with this program is to depopulate Facility Association … Individuals and fleets are better served in the standard market.”

The increases may also be due to more than poor safety performance alone. Geographic information collected through the program will help Facility Association in its ongoing crackdown on businesses which misrepresent where trucks actually operate.

“Back in 2018-2019, all of a sudden we started to see a significant increase in the number of vehicles that were being registered in Alberta,” he said, referring to where the scam was first noticed. “We saw a corresponding decrease in vehicles not being insured by Facility Association in Ontario.”

Trucks exposed to urban areas in Alberta face lower calculated risks than those in Ontario, leading to lower premiums as a result. But driving records began to show some of the FA-insured businesses spent little time operating in Alberta, if at all.

A similar situation began to emerge in Nova Scotia, when 150 trucks were registered to Purdy’s Wharf in Halifax. The address was nothing more than a parking garage on the waterfront.

Understanding the risks

“We want to understand where the truck is driving and where the truck is operating so the premium represents the risk,” Tupling said.

Other insurers shoulder the costs of claims if Facility Association truckers are charged too little.

It’s not the only reason that more operators are turning to Facility Association, though. “We also know that the insurance market has been hardening and companies are looking at their risks – and that’s where we’re seeing some of that business with Facility Association,” Tupling said.

The Alberta Motor Transport Association applauded the program.

“This initiative provides drivers with real-time feedback on how to improve their driving habits, which will help improve the safety of our roads, and provide drivers the experience they need to have access to lower insurance rates,” said Willie Hamel, president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA).

  • This story has been updated to include comments from Derek Tupling of Facility Association. It has also been clarified to reflect that daily scores will only be provided to participating fleets.
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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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