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Discovery

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Discovery is a proudly South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life insurance,...

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08/04/2022 Insurance Innovation

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As our core purpose is to enhance and protect people’s lives, we found a unique opportunity to begin repairing potholes across Johannesburg in partnership with the City of Johannesburg and Dialdirect, another car and home insurer in the South African market. This enhances the safety of not just our clients but of society as a whole.

Innovation presentation

Potholes cause great damage to motor vehicles directly through damage to tyres, wheels, shock absorbers and the under-carriage of a vehicle and in addition result in more serious accidents as cars try to avoid potholes and collide with ongoing vehicles.

In the first quarter of 2021, the cost of Discovery Insure’s pothole claims in Gauteng (a province in South Africa) was over R5.5 million (approx. $380 000). The estimated annual cost to South Africa at the time was R650 million (approx $44 million) through vehicle damage alone. This amount is equivalent to potentially purchase 750 000 brand new tyres in South Africa.

As our core purpose is to enhance and protect people’s lives, we found a unique opportunity to begin repairing potholes across Johannesburg in partnership with the City of Johannesburg and Dialdirect, another car and home insurer in the South African market. This enhances the safety of not just our clients but of society as a whole.

In addition, vehicle insurance does not cover tyre damage if that is the only part that is damaged in a claim event. The Pothole Patrol initiative allows Discovery Insure to protect driver’s tyres, even when this does not form part of their insurance policies and we have already seen some encouraging results from this.

Since the launch of the initiative, we have repaired over 80 000 and we have seen a 26% reduction in the number of pothole incidents in Johannesburg. This has resulted in effective claims savings compared to the cost of the initiative as well as an uplift in brand awareness.

Discovery Insure was primed to add value to Pothole Patrol by providing significant statistical insights about road conditions. This is collected through telematics data that measures how vehicles are driven.

Uniqueness of the project

Pothole Patrol is unique since it adds value to all drivers across Johannesburg by using a world-class dataset of driving behaviour.

Discovery Insure measures uses telematics devices to measure driving behaviour but also to provide safety features. One of these features is Impact Alert where we can automatically detect if a client has been involved in an accident and send emergency assistance without the client having to contact us first. Trough Impact Alert we can detect low-level impacts (which may be indicative of driving through a pothole), which are sent to our data science team. They use machine learning and analytics to get statistical insight into whether there a pothole is present in the area.

Our data science team works closely with Pothole Patrol to inform them of the state of roads in Johannesburg and to help direct them in their efforts to repair the potholes.

We have therefore taken a data-driven approach to finding potholes and repairing them, and we have combined this with manual reports from drivers to give us a holistic view of potholes across the city.

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