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Dubai's Proton to launch in Australia/New Zealand

New telematics car insurtech Proton has plans to launch in Australia and New Zealand after success in the United Arab Emirates since it began operating there in January.

Proton’s digital motor insurance is distributed via a telematics-enabled smartphone App, with user engagement features to promote safe driving behaviour. Rewards such as Amazon vouchers are given for safe driving scores.

Proton was co-founded by Anshul Srivastav, who was formerly VP Information Technology at Axa in Hong Kong for over 8 years and CIO at Union Insurance in Dubai for seven years.

Mr Srivastav tells Proton has collected 3 million kms of driving data and has onboarded 2000 customers in four months.

“Our target is definitely a different segment than typical insurers,” he said. “We are targeting the 18-30 group segment, which has typically not been targeted by insurers. Either they go underinsured or they go uninsured. That’s where the maximum traction is coming.”

An individual risk profile is built from the telematics data, with every trip scored. Speed, distraction, acceleration, cornering and hard braking are tracked via smart phones to score drivers as green, amber or red.

The scores can result in discounts, redeemable vouchers and lower premiums. If scored below 50, no rewards are earned.

“After sharing their data for 20 days, we give them a policy,” Mr Srivastav says, adding that beliefs about younger drivers traditionally held by insurers are not fact-checked.

His team has crunched five years of industry data across 30 insurers, identifying segments “ignored” by insurers that can be profitable.

“Insurers believe but they haven’t seen the data. We’ve seen the data,” Mr Srivastav said. “Insurers have their own data, they don’t have industry data. We pulled out that data and we found out there is a very high sweet spot.

“The guys that have bought policies with us are in the majority the segments which have been ignored by the insurers.”

Proton, which signs up with driving schools to target customers, is undergoing a $US3 million ($4.3 million) capital raising and says South East Asia and India are future target markets. Proton is underwritten by a top-5 UAE insurer, and backed by reinsurers including Axa and Scor Re.