/ 20 May 2011

Discovery’s new short-term insurance

Discovery made getting healthy easy with its motivating Vitality programme. Now, using the same interactive, easily accessible model, Discovery has introduced Insure — a comprehensive vehicle, personal and household insurance that will be available from June 1.

Discovery will be doing the underwriting itself, with back-end plans and procurement done through Hollard. However, the product is under licence to Discovery.

According to Insure chief executive Steffen Gilbert, while the cover is largely vanilla, with the usual kinds of provisos (no excess for retired people or in the event of theft or carjacking, for example), the unique Discovery approach will make the products appealing.

Let’s look at VitalityDrive, the aim of which is to inspire you to become a better driver. “Anyone can change their driving behaviour — and they should be rewarded for doing this,” says Gilbert. “We’ve applied the same encouragement in terms of driving as we’ve done with health and we believe it will make a difference.”

When I apply for motor vehicle insurance, I am rated according to fairly usual criteria: age, gender, lifestyle. I may get a low rating as a middle-aged female. Once I join VitalityDrive, my driving style will be assessed and if I engage in good driver behaviour I will be rewarded with petrol spend.

What’s interesting is that a young male may get a high rating initially, but if he complies with the requirements — has his car checked out at partner Tiger Wheel & Tyre, takes his car for a service, shops at partner BP, completes online questionnaires to earn points and generally improves his DriverQuotient (DQ), for example — he will get more petrol spend back than a bad driver. This is assessed monthly, so he has to be consistently diligent.

Every vehicle insured will have a device installed in the car which will check things like acceleration, braking and so on, monitoring whether you’re driving your car sensibly. If you have an accident, the device can also help you prove it wasn’t your fault. So if you’re accused of having speeded up, or slammed on your brakes, the device can show if this is true or not. It will also function as a tracking device.

The VitalityDrive Vehicle Protector reduces the risk of vehicle theft by providing immediate alerts and notifications if the vehicle battery is tampered with or if the vehicle is moved without going through the normal ignition procedure.

FamilyProtector is another great feature. At extra monthly cost, you can receive an SMS when a family member starts or ends a journey and you can use the DQMapper to check safe routes. You also get panic assistance if you’re stranded in an unsafe area. Something like this that puts parents’ minds at ease is a doubtless winner.

Your motor insurance will include free car hire and “hassle-free claiming”. But that’s just the beginning of the rewards. You can get up to 40% fuel rewards (if you also have a DiscoveryCard credit card) and benefits for engaging in good driver behaviour.

At R49 a month per driver — not including FamilyProtector — VitalityDrive seems to be a good investment, particularly because you can earn fuel rewards rapidly and boost your Vitality and DiscoveryCard rewards in the process. Obviously, the more Discovery cards you have, the more you’ll score here. You can combine Vitality and VitalityDrive points, for example, for a bigger discount.

You can earn up to 1 000 DQ points a month, says Gilbert, and your DQ points total is translated into fuel spend. You get 10% fuel rewards when you spend on petrol in cash at BP service stations.

Another handy benefit is the Excess Funder Account. Discovery Insure will match your 40% fuel savings with their own 40%. So 80c out of every rand you spend on fuel will go towards paying future excesses. You can draw the nominal amount you’ve contributed after three years, assuming you haven’t used it.

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 25 and you want to get started with insurance, the Young Adult Contract may appeal to you. You can get discounted premiums and get wise on how to avoid high-risk driving behaviour. But note that there’s an additional excess for accidents between 9pm on Fridays and 6am on Saturdays, as well as 9pm on Saturdays and 6am on Sundays — and this covers only the insured vehicle.

As with Vitality for the health-and-fitness conscious, you can improve your “driver health” with VitalityDrive and you’ll be incentivised as you go. If this helps to make our roads safer, one can only applaud the initiative.

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