New car insurance policy tracks driving habit

The Sunday Times highlights four insurance products, including a car insurance policy that uses a plug-in telematics device


To be launched soon, UMax is a "pay-how-you-drive" car insurance policy that utilises a plug-in telematics device to track driving behaviour.

MSIG says it is an improvement on similar plans offered by other insurers, which use mobile phone- based telematics.

Plug-in hardware provides more accurate feedback on driving behaviour and is considered to be more precise than mobile apps, it noted.

Besides, mobile phone-based telematics software relies on built-in smartphone sensors and these are not designed with vehicle telematics applications in mind and thus cannot produce the same level of data accuracy as a plug-in telematics device, MSIG added.

Drivers who sign up for UMax will get a telematics device installed in their cars. Each journey is assessed and given a score based on the distance, speed and driving style, such as cornering, acceleration and braking. There will be four scoring bands - green, yellow, orange and red.

In the first year, drivers will pay a premium based on the existing pricing method using a combination of factors such as the vehicle make and model, the driver's profile and his claims history. Driving data will be assessed 60 days from the policy commencement date.

Customers at Mah Motors' motorcycle showroom. FWD's motorcycle insurance recognises safe riders by providing an option to retain and pay the same premium for two years, and a lifetime 20 per cent no claim discount guarantee as long as they are insured by FWD. ST PHOTO: TED CHEN

Under the UMax plan, drivers have better control over their excess after the first 60-day period, during which time their driving data will be assessed.

In the event of an accident, the driver can bring down his own damage excess by half if he has achieved a driving score within the yellow band in a 30-day period before the incident, or even a complete waiver of the excess if his score is within the green band.

MSIG chief executive Michael Gourlay said: "UMax offers a customised system and encourages our customers to drive more safely as they get instant feedback from the app."

Car owners who buy UMax will not have to pay for the device or the installation. In addition, MSIG will give a rebate of up to $150 upon the installation of the device.


Drivers who have held the 50 per cent no claim discount status for at least five years will get an extra 10 per cent discount on their car insurance base premium at DirectAsia.

The new feature offers these drivers an additional 10 per cent discount over and above the existing 50 per cent no claim discount; and applies to the insurer's existing and new customers.

Customers can also opt to protect their NCD60 status with the NCD Protection optional benefit for a nominal fee.


Rolled out last month, the new term life insurance plan offers a maximum coverage amount of $3 million.

FWD chief executive Abhishek Bhatia said it is the first insurer to offer a term life product with up to $3 million coverage online.

Coverage of up to $1.5 million is offered without the need for medical tests.

The cover can run from as short as five years or up to age 70. Customers can opt to purchase the plan for one year (renewable up to age 100) if they prefer shorter commitments. And they can beef up the coverage with optional benefits to protect themselves if they are diagnosed with a critical illness or become unable to work due to a total and permanent disability.

So if a customer buys a fixed-term plan with an optional premium waiver benefit, he can enjoy coverage without paying the premiums if he is unable to work due to a total and permanent disability or critical illness.

The annual premium for a 35-year-old male (non-smoker) is $645, or $56.12 monthly, for a cover of $1.5 million for five years.


The motorcycle insurance recognises safe riders by providing an option to retain and pay the same premium for two years, and a lifetime 20 per cent no claim discount guarantee as long as they are insured by FWD.

The plan offers coverage in Singapore, west Malaysia and southern Thailand. There is a daily transport allowance of up to $20 per day for up to three or five days, depending on the type of plan.

There is an optional rider to cover overseas emergency assistance, emergency expenses and additional towing charges. For example, riders who get into an accident are entitled to claim a trip back to Singapore from the site of their accident if their vehicle is unsafe to ride.

The plan offers customers the flexibility to waive the young driver excess at an additional premium.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 11, 2017, with the headline 'New car insurance policy tracks driving habit'. Print Edition | Subscribe