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O2 Expands Into Car Insurance With O2 Drive

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Sidewise move? O2 launches car insurance product includes black box system for young drivers

O2 has become the first mobile operator in the UK to begin offering a car insurance service with its O2 Drive product.

O2 Drive is being touted as competitively priced car insurance from a brand that people “already know and trust”. It applies to both new O2 customers, as well as existing customers who may be able to get a better price, the operator teased.

Other benefits include discounted car servicing and maintenance, tips on how to become a safer driver, and perks all year round, exclusive to customers via its O2 Drive mobile app.

o2-logo-square-largeCar Insurance

O2 is of course a mobile operator and it is able to offer the O2 Drive service thanks to a partnership with Junction, a division of Peterborough-based insurance services provider BGL Group.

And O2 Drive also includes a proposition to help young car drivers (17 to 24 years old) get behind the wheel in an affordable manner thanks to an optional telematics option, called O2 Drive – Box on Board.

This is a small black box sits alongside the car battery. Like many other car black box products out there, it will monitor the driver’s behaviour, which will in turn affect their insurance premiums.

O2 Drive is described by the company rather grandly as “Defaqto 5-star rated car insurance policy, exclusive perks, discounted car servicing and maintenance – through an innovative mobile app”. 

The app itself is only available to iPhone and Android users, (sorry no Windows Mobile option), and is designed to give customers simple, easy access to any needed information such as emergency breakdown services, policy details and advice on what to do after an accident.

The app will also give all O2 Drive customers exclusive perks throughout the year.

These perks can include retail and restaurant vouchers to car accessories. And customers will also get O2 Priority exclusive discounts and rewards through the O2 Drive app.

The app’s Car Assistant also provides customers with access to discounted repairs, MOTs or servicing.

But why exactly has O2 decided to venture into the cut throat world of car insurance?

“Despite the rapid evolution of technology, the way we insure and service our cars has remained largely unchanged, with customers telling us that buying insurance is impersonal and confusing,” explained David Plumb, digital director at O2.

“We are on a mission to make customers’ lives easier through mobile, which is why we created O2 Drive,” he said. “Based on the excellent feedback we’ve had so far for O2 Drive, the Box on Board proposition was created to further simplify the challenges of owning and driving a car safely.”

“It unites our award-winning customer experience with our expertise in mobile to create a more personalised service – insuring people for who they are and rewarding them as they drive,” he concluded.

“We are delighted to be working with O2 on this suite of products and expect this to be the start of a long and fruitful partnership between our two companies,” said Gary Duggan, MD of Junction.

Branching Out

“The customer is at the core of all of the products that we launch, including O2 Drive and O2 Drive – Box on Board,” said Duggan. “We will reward their loyalty to O2 with offers and services, and address the needs of individual customers, offering them an unprecedented level of service.”

O2 is of course still owned by Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica. Last year it reached 10 million 4G customers, which is impressive considering that unlike some of its UK rivals such as EE or Vodafone, it offered (until now) a mobile-only service with no optional extras such as fixed-line broadband etc.

The future of Telefonica’s operation in the UK had been in doubt following the European Commission (EC)’s decision to block the proposed £10.25 billion merger between O2 and Three.

And CEO Mark Evans hinted last year that plans for a floatation are slightly less advanced following the Brexit vote.

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