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Dashcams can change insurance

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Insurance providers in some countries incentivise motorists who drive vehicles fitted with a dash cam. LIZETTE ERASMUS, Insurance Expert at IntegriSure, debates whether dash cams can play a bigger role in the local short term insurance industry.

Road accidents, some of which are fatal, are a regular occurrence on South African roads. Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi released road death statistics showing a 51% increase in fatalities during the 2017 Easter period – raising concern for safe driving on the roads. The role of dash cams (or car dashboard cameras) in helping motorists with responsible driving has been much debated around the world.

Social media is littered with dash cam footage of road rage, irresponsible driving and bad accidents. With such availability of driver behaviour evidence, should dash cams play a bigger role in settling motor accident claims, determining premiums and be used as a tool to incentivise drivers in South Africa?

Unlike South Africa, insurance providers in some countries incentivise motorists who drive vehicles fitted with a dash cam. According to insurance companies in the UK, having a dash cam could reduce the premium by up to 15%.

Risk profiles depend on many factors

Being able to provide additional evidence that you were not at fault when a motor accident occurs can be beneficial during claim stage and even fast track the process. Many factors go into the process of determining a risk profile and therefore setting a premium. However, the willingness to install a dash cam for visual evidence in the event of a claim could indicate to insurance providers that one is a responsible person and consequently reflect in their premiums.

However, the bigger picture will always come into play. Your credit record, claims history, length of time you’ve had a driving license, as well as the security measurements taken, will influence the premium an insurance provider settles on for a specific client. Even if adopted, the installation of a dash cam will need to be evaluated in light of the other aspects of determining a risk profile.

Detecting fraudulent claims

Economic pressure unfortunately causes fraudulent behaviour and insurance providers have fallen prey to this type of behaviour.

Russia was one of the first countries to widely embrace the use of dash cams, mainly as a defence against police corruption, as well as insurance fraud such as ‘crash for cash’ scams. Crash for cash scams happen where fraudsters deliberately cause ‘accidents’ by running or driving into the road as soon as a car approaches, with the aim to claim for insurance.

To an extent, dash cams provide proof of foul play in the instance of this type of fraud. In addition, dash cams can help avoid the he-said she-said scenario at claim stage.

Dash cams assist with the collection of evidence, but do not eliminate the need for a thorough investigation into an incident. Dash cams see broadly into the road, therefore other detail on the road may be missed by the camera lens – which is where an eyewitness account is still vital.  Insurance providers still have to conduct thorough investigation to assess the incident and the resultant damage. Dash cams do, however, assist in speeding up the process and giving a greater scope of what happened.

The unintended consequences of dash cam adoption

As with anything, insurance providers will have to contend with other unintended consequences when assessing the viability of adopting dash cams – one of which is a legal risk. While recording via a dash cam is not illegal, sharing such footage may be an infringement of people’s right to privacy. Dash cam footage is commonly shared on social media, which can be seen as violation of privacy, resulting in litigation. Insurance providers must consider the risk of being party to these types of cases when encouraging the use of dash cams, and appropriately educate consumers.

Dash cameras benefit motorists and vehicle owners

Most dash cams are linked to the engine and are therefore programmed to start recording as soon as the ignition starts which is also beneficial in ensuring the dash cam is always recording. This could very well be a prerequisite should the technology be adopted by insurance providers. For fleet owners, dash cams can help them monitor whether their drivers are driving responsibly or not.

A vehicle owner who lends a friend their vehicle is also able to monitor their friend’s driving behaviour through the dash cam footage. Furthermore, viewing footage of your own driving can help improve one’s own driving, as you can watch and review where you need to correct your driving behaviour.

The use of technologies such as telematics and tracking devices has been adopted by the South African short-term insurance industry, and dash cams could be another device to investigate to add to that list. When all is said and done, dash cams do encourage responsible driving behaviour. Whether or not South Africa is ready for the wholesale adoption of dash cams in the short-term insurance industry remains to be seen.

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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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