Opt In and Win

Toyota Insurance Management Solutions’ new BrightDrive gives customers the power to turn data about their driving habits into savings on their auto insurance

April 29, 2020

Like most people, you probably think you’re a good driver. Now, your vehicle can back you up on that claim.

The fact is, most new Toyotas can — with your permission — collect and use data to support product quality and deliver enhanced services. That includes BrightDrive, a new offering from Toyota Insurance Management Solutions (TIMS). If you really are as mindful of the road as you say you are, you could end up paying less on your auto insurance — whether you purchase it through TIMS or a third-party insurance provider.

TIMS, a Toyota affiliate insurance agency — owned by the parent of Toyota Financial Services, Toyota Connected and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance — offers a broad spectrum of insurance products for autos, homes, boats, motorcycles, RVs and more. TIMS and its sister entity Connected Analytic Services were established in 2016, about the same time as Toyota Connected. So, it’s no surprise the entities are working closely with one another to improve the Toyota customer experience through the use of data.

“Part of our transition to becoming a mobility company is finding new ways to add value to our customers’ lives,” says Will Nicklas, vice president of TIMS. “Providing access to new usage-based insurance products is one way to do that. A lot of insurance companies have been experimenting with plug-in devices and mobile apps to accomplish this. But our connected vehicles don’t need an app. If a customer wants to use their data to see if they qualify for savings on insurance, all they have to do is opt in. It’s completely seamless.”

As such, TIMS has begun testing different business models that can deliver these services with the ultimate goal of providing customers with a complete Toyota insurance experience.

For example, Nationwide — one of the nation’s leading insurance providers — recently announced it was partnering with TIMS to offer BrightDrive. Toyota owners who purchase a BrightDrive policy from TIMS, underwritten by Nationwide, receive an immediate 10 percent discount on their premiums. After opting in to share their driving data, customers can receive a personalized discount of as much as 40 percent at their first renewal — depending on how they drive.

If BrightDrive customers need to make a claim, they receive repair quotes that include the use of available Toyota Genuine Parts and support the use of Toyota Certified Collision Centers. That way owners can be certain their Toyota will remain a Toyota. And Toyota dealers will have an opportunity to help customers if there is a loss.

This usage-based insurance offering is currently available in Texas, Ohio, Arizona, Virginia and Maryland. Additional states will be phased in throughout the year.

Opt-ins on the Upswing

Beyond sorting out the technical issues, Nicklas says BrightDrive’s success will hinge on conveying to customers the value of sharing their data.

“Nearly all of the new vehicles we sell now are connected, so that gives us an opportunity to innovate and improve the ownership experience,” says Mark McClung, chief product owner, Connected Strategy and Business Development for TMNA Connected Technologies. “TIMS is a key partner for us, creating opportunities for our customers to take control of their data to access insurance savings not possible otherwise, in a transparent and seamless way.”

To streamline data sharing for the customer, TIMS and Connected Technologies have collaborated to add the customer opt-in to the Connected Services registration process.  Now, along with features like Safety Connect, Service Connect, and WiFi Connect, customers can share their data with TIMS.  Originally, new owners were directed to toyota.com/owners to grant permission, but only about 20 people per day actually did that. Since August, when the new insurance opt-in process was set in motion, participation has skyrocketed to over 1,000 customers per day.

“Our objective is to simplify the process for our customers and present a clear value story to them for tapping into their data,” says McClung. “Since making the changes, nearly 30 percent of our customers have chosen to opt-in.”

You Can Benefit, Too

This is all great for customers. But what about team members? Nicklas says BrightDrive is available to them, too, if they personally own or lease a connected Toyota.

And because TIMS is a full-service agency representing a number of national carriers, those who aren’t ready for BrightDrive can turn to TIMS for a quote on traditional insurance for their vehicles, homes, RVs and more. Many team members have already taken advantage of this benefit. Just call 877-274-9632 during business hours or go to the TIMS website to learn more.

“It’s exciting to be part of a company like Toyota that is transforming itself to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of our customers— including cars smart enough to save you money,” says Nicklas.  “At the end of the day, delighting our customers is what it’s all about.

By Dan Miller

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