Top five telematics concerns for middle-market businesses with fleets

Survey shows main perceived advantages of vehicle telematics

December 2020 | General Industries




94% of business owners surveyed agreed that vehicle telematics help protect their employees on the road


91% feel that these solutions have a positive impact on how their business operates


But only 60% of agents feel knowledgeable enough to speak about telematics with their clients


For businesses across the country, two of the most challenging aspects of their operations are managing their fleet of vehicles and keeping their drivers safe behind the wheel. Operating a fleet of commercial vehicles is not as simple as handing an employee a set of keys and sending them on their way. Businesses spend countless hours each year searching for ways they can improve their fleet management practices.

One increasingly popular way middle-market businesses are tackling these challenges head-on is through the use of telematics systems. Broadly speaking, telematics devices gather data about vehicle performance, driver behavior and vehicle diagnostics (among other things) and then send that information to be evaluated. Common examples of telematics solutions include GPS technology, sensors, mobile applications, dashcams and vehicle engine diagnostics solutions.

Top Concerns for Middle-Market Businesses with Fleets

  • number one
    Distracted driving among employees driving fleet vehicles
  • number two
    The rising cost of insurance for commercial fleets
  • tied for three
    The safety of employees driving for work
  • tied for three
    Accidents involving fleet vehicles
  • number five
    Drug and alcohol use among employees

Source: Nationwide Agent Authority research on telematics

As fleet telematics devices become more common, it is incumbent upon insurance professionals to learn more about these solutions, how they are used to benefit businesses and how business owners perceive this technology.

Trends within the telematics space were recently examined in Nationwide's latest Agent Authority research, which surveyed 200 middle-market businesses with fleet vehicles and 400 independent insurance agents from across the country. In this article, we will examine key findings from that research and explain how independent agents like you can leverage this information to meet the needs of your clients and prospects.

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Businesses are seeking more guidance from a trusted advisor

When it comes to seeking guidance on telematics solutions, middle-market businesses place a lot of trust in their agents to provide the information they need to make informed decisions. In fact, 88% of middle-market business owners indicated that they would trust their agent to counsel their business on vehicle telematics. The trust that businesses place in their agents to advise on telematics was reinforced in the Agent Authority research by the fact that 83% of middle-market businesses indicated that their agent was knowledgeable when speaking about the technology.

While businesses maintain a high level of faith in their agent’s ability to advise on this subject, not all agency personnel feel confident in their telematics knowledge base. Only six in 10 agents feel knowledgeable enough to speak about telematics solutions with their clients. Drilling down further, agency principals (74%) tend to be the most comfortable speaking about telematics, followed by producers (59%), and then customer service representatives (37%).

One potential stumbling block agencies should be aware of when it comes to developing their employees’ understanding of telematics is the resources they provide. Generally speaking, agency principals overestimate the level of resources they offer their workforce. While 79% of principals feel they provide their employees with plenty of sources on telematics, only 63% of producers and 32% of customer service representatives agree.

These findings speak to the need for insurance professionals, especially those who work with insureds that have fleet exposures, to stay up to date on the latest trends in fleet management and telematics systems. As more businesses seek out telematics solutions, agents will need to understand the benefits these systems provide, what applications are best for their clients’ particular needs, and ways clients can get the most out of their telematics solutions. Agents should also have a keen awareness of the resources their carrier partners can provide to support these efforts.

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Nationwide’s latest Agent Authority study surveyed 200 middle-market businesses with fleet vehicles and 400 independent insurance agents from across the country

Overall, middle-market businesses tend to be advocates of telematics, with seven out of 10 businesses utilizing the telematics services offered by their insurance provider

But only six in 10 agents feel knowledgeable enough to speak about telematics with their clients


Learn more about Nationwide’s commercial telematics solution, dash cam technologies and related loss control resources. If you're an agent interested in growing your commercial book of business, please go to nationwide.com/agents.


How telematics can benefit commercial fleets


Insurance Business America: Nationwide survey reveals major business interest in telematics

Insurance Business America: The telematics value proposition for commercial auto insureds

about the experts

Tony Fenton, Vice President of Commercial Lines Underwriting and Product

Tony Fenton

Tony is an experienced professional in the leadership of multi-line commercial property and casualty operations. He started his insurance career with Allied in 1997 as a Commercial Lines Intern and has held roles of increasing scope and responsibility, including Underwriter, Production Underwriter, Manager, Underwriting Director, and several Officer-level roles at both CNA and Nationwide.

As Vice President of Commercial Lines Underwriting ...and Product, Tony is responsible for driving operational performance through underwriting leadership and strategic alignment between cross-functional units.

Tony's education includes a Bachelor of Science in business management with a marketing specialization from Simpson College. He is also active in many nonprofit organizations, including United Way and as a Board Member for the Idaho Surveying and Rating Bureau.

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Pete Frey, Telematics and Connected Business Director

Pete Frey

Pete leads Nationwide's product strategy and program development for both telematics and the Internet of Things. That includes connected fleet, mobility, innovation, product ...development and usage-based insurance as it relates to a Commercial Lines connected business framework.

He began his career in the automotive industry, followed by more than 20 years in insurance technology. In addition to working for two major insurance carriers, he has also developed products for service providers.

Pete has a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Texas at El Paso and a management certificate in technology management and leadership from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
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Survey methodology

Nationwide commissioned Edelman Intelligence to conduct a 20-minute quantitative online survey among a sample of 1,600 U.S. independent insurance agents, mid-market business owners with fleet vehicles, and general consumers between June 9 and June 25 to understand what business owners and consumers value when buying or renewing insurance policies, explore the different challenges each audience faces around insurance, gauge perceptions of the economy and how each audience is managing uncertainty, and find out the actions business owners and consumers have taken as a result of COVID-19 and the conversations they’re having with agents. As a member of CASRO in good standing, Edelman Intelligence conducts all research in accordance with Market Research Standards and Guidelines.