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Lancer Recommends Tech Tool

Specialty insurer finds video systems can reduce driving risks and fraud.

Lancer Insurance (Long Beach, NY), a specialty insurer of transportation vehicles, is recommending its insured limousine fleets contact DriveCam Video Systems (San Diego), to learn more about this detection system. The recommendation came after a limo equipped with DriveCam was able to prove an accident fraudulent.

The recording of the accident involving the limousine that was insured by Lancer was enabled through the DriveCam—a digital video event recorder attached to the front windshield of a car and equipped with a camera, microphone and four accelerometers that measure acceleration.

"There are a couple of things that intrigued us about the DriveCam," says Randy O'Neill, director of communications, Lancer Insurance. "We had an experience where an account was using the DriveCam and was set up for a staged accident," he says. "The camera caught the whole thing and we were able to track down the perpetrators."

After this incident, DriveCam gave Lancer Insurance a presentation on the DriveCam Video Systems' products.

"The electronic device can pick up velocity changes that are captured in digital looping memory," explains Ed Andrew, DriveCam's president and CEO. "When the vehicle is driven in an unusual fashion, whether it be a hard brake, swerve or skid, it triggers and captures information from a period of time before and after the event." The DriveCam is palm-sized and mounts behind a driver's rear-view mirror. The device recognizes events because G-forces are caused by activities such as hard braking, acceleration, harsh cornering or collisions.

It would be in an insured's interests to have the DriveCam installed, says O'Neill, because claims are reduced as a result of driving with the camera, and loss experience also would be reduced—thus affecting rates. Also, says O'Neill, use of the system can reduce maintenance costs.

Because the DriveCam enables drivers and their managers to see and hear things that happened during an "event," drivers generally become more cautious. "When confronted with unbiased feedback drivers improve almost immediately," says Andrews. Each event is given a level of severity—for example, to distinguish between someone who hit the brakes hard to avoid a child who has run into the road, and someone who has done so because of careless driving.

According to Andrews, the DriveCam is part of the DriveCam Video System that includes an introductory VCR tape, driver's guide, a manager's guide that explains implementation and the events manager, which is a Microsoft (Redmond, WA) Access-based software for logging driver events and classifying them into one of four user-defined levels depending on frequency and severity.

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