No. 1 Cambridge Mobile Telematics buys No. 2 TrueMotion in main auto insurtech deal

Cambridge Mobile Telematics on Thursday announced it had bought its top competitor TrueMotion, creating an automotive telematics powerhouse serving 21 out of the nation’s Top 25 auto insurers.

CMT said hello had recently been the No. 1 telematics company in the world. TrueMotion ranked No. 2. The deal were not disclosed. TrueMotion CEO Ted Gramer will end up CMT’s chief operating officer.

“With this acquisition, we will use our world-class talent, technology, and scale to help our partners overcome the complex challenges of worldwide road safety,” CMT CEO William Powers said in a statement. “Both companies have helped transform the auto insurance industry, powering the shift from traditional rating models to usage-based and behavior-based insurance. We're excited to operate together to bring telematics methods to you from the 1.4 billion vehicles on the world's roads.”

The Cambridge Mobile Telematics News release pointed out that mobile telematics didn’t even exist a decade ago but needs to be a $125 billion industry by 2026.

“We're thrilled to join CMT to enable the future of car insurance,” Gramer said in a statement. “About about ten years ago, both companies were founded in Cambridge with similar pursuit to make roads safer. Now, we are joining forces to accelerate this journey. This acquisition makes sense on a lot of levels.”

Both companies may use the sensors inside a smartphone to study driver behavior and recognize when a crash has occurred.

The technology has ramifications for collision repairers and auto insurers, and the merger might heighten its potential like a disrupter. Telematics services such as these two firms’ may be used by insurers to improve driver behavior, find out the lowest-risk drivers and court them with reduced premiums and diminish that carrier’s overall frequency. Plus they can do so regardless of whether the insurer or consumer can access OEMs’ in-vehicle telematics data. Conversely, if the capability prompts lousy drivers in a sell to self-select for less technologically advanced insurers, that may be a positive for those insurers’ DRP facilities.

Telematics also allows insurers the opportunity to detect a crash, dispatch emergency services if necessary and start assisting the customer having a claim immediately. This could foster referrals for DRP shops and compete with automakers’ intends to do the same task but promote certified shops. However, the ability of a carrier to acquire data about a crash severity — for instance, the modification in velocity a smartphone registered — may benefit all body shops by reduction of disputes over whether an accident was too minor to warrant certain procedures. It also could help insurers agree quickly that vehicles are totals — or realize that prior to the vehicle ever being towed to some shop.


Such companies might have something to automakers too despite the fact that their vehicles already carry telematics and connectivity. GM, for example, recently used phone telematics to grow OnStar’s protective capabilities to people who aren’t even in a GM vehicle. If your rival automaker desires to follow but lacks in-house smartphone telematics capability, they may lean on a business like CMT.

“CMT's platform combines sensor fusion, artificial intelligence, and behavioral science to allow insurers, rideshare companies, fleet operators, automakers, and also the personal safety industry to accurately measure driving risk, help drivers become safer, and provide real-time crash assistance,” Cambridge Mobile Telematics wrote in a news release Thursday.

“… By focusing on how people drive instead of who they really are, telematics programs provide unique predictive capabilities for risk segmentation for private and commercial insurers. Telematics measures adverse behaviors that cause crashes, such as phone distraction, excessive speeding, along with a pattern of hard braking, indicating lower focus. This can be a huge shift from traditional factors, which correlate with crashes, try not to cause them. Moreover, because drivers can control their telematics-based risk factors, they can reduce their crash risk minimizing their insurance premiums using structured feedback and incentives. The 2 companies have proven these capabilities at scale with countless users of mobile applications in more than 90 enterprise programs.

“This acquisition also strengthens CMT's capability to help insurers and the mobility industry modernize emergency response and claims processes. The advancements build on the companies' innovations for real-time crash detection and AI-based crash reconstruction using high-frequency sensor data. The technology enables organizations to dispatch roadside assistance within seconds of a crash, receive more information about a crash in minutes, and improve damage assessment for insurance claims.”

We asked if No. 2 TrueMotion had any capabilities or tech that No. 1 CMT didn’t, and vice versa.

“CMT has a hardware/IoT ingredient that TrueMotion doesn’t have – TrueMotion’s offerings happen to be entirely app-only, whereas CMT has App+Tag programs that have a second source of ground truth data,” Cambridge Mobile Telematics marketing communication specialist Lisa-Marie Pascuccio wrote within an email Thursday. “We’ve also developed a video telematics product having a dual-facing camera – that just launched a few months ago. Otherwise, the 2 companies are incredibly complimentary – our crash detection and claims products are very similar, our telematics platforms offer a similar experience. That synergy is actually much more of a factor within the acquisition – they’ve got great talent focusing on much the same technology, our cultures concentrating on customers and knowledge privacy are lockstep, etc.”

“The adoption of CMT's telematics services continues to be growing exponentially since 2021, with TrueMotion joining us, we're poised for even greater growth,” Cambridge Mobile Telematics Chief Technology Officer Hari Balakrishnan said in a statement. “We will not only widen our lead in smartphone telematics, but also use our combined talent to invent new products for risk measurement, contextual telematics, and crash mitigation across emerging mobile, IoT, connected-car, video, and sensing technologies. We look forward to developing and deploying these items for everyone our partners and drivers everywhere.”