LM: Laura Beth Medley
LK: Lizzie Kolkowski
JC: Jay Cestkowski
L: The following podcast is for informational purposes only, and the opinions expressed therein are not necessarily those of Canal Insurance Company. This information is not designed to replace, substitute, or supplement our clients’ independent obligation to comply with any laws or regulations. Listeners should complete their own independent research in creation and development of their company’s risk management and safety programs.
LM: Welcome to the Haulin’ Notes podcast by Canal Insurance Company. I’m Laura Beth Medley, Vice President, Chief Human Resource and Corporate Communications Officer at Canal. This month, I’m joined by Lizzie Kolkowski, Assistant Vice President of Innovation at Canal and Jay Cestkowski, Strategic Partnership Lead at Motive. Motive is one of Canal’s telematics provider partners for our newest insurance product, Miles Canal, a utilization-based product that allows customers to use their existing telematics device to determine and report mileage for their insurance premium. In our conversation with Lizzie and Jay, we’ll discuss our company’s partnership and what customers can look forward to with the Miles Canal product. Now let’s get rolling. Alright, thank you for joining us, Jay and Lizzie, we’re excited to kick off season 2 with some great guests and some exciting information. Jay, let’s start with you. Would you mind giving our listeners just a quick background on yourself and a little bit about Motive?
JC: Sure, absolutely. So, my name is Jay Cestkowski. I’m a strategic partnerships lead here at Motive. Motive is essentially a solutions provider for commercial vehicles. We provide an integrated solution to help them manage their operations more efficiently. I actually got my start in this line of work 20 years ago. I was initially in the insurance industry, working for American Family Insurance where I started out in market and strategy analytics. Then, in about 2009, I had the opportunity to join a small team that was looking at using telematics data for insurance purposes on the auto side. So here I am 14 years later, still working in this exciting area of telematics. I was instrumental in getting that program started, our first iteration of our safety program. After that, I had the opportunity to join Verisk Analytics, where I helped stand up their telematics data exchange program. Essentially, companies like Motive could contribute data to that data exchange, and we used that data to create derivatives for insurance companies to leverage for their insurance purposes. My role there was to set up partnerships, whether they were OEMs, auto manufacturers, mobile application companies, or trucking companies—really to use that data for insurance purposes. That was actually my first experience working with trucking companies in that role. Then, in January 2022, I came over to Keep Trucking, now Motive, as a strategic partnerships lead, where I help set up partnerships like the ones we have with Canal to benefit our mutual customers.
LM: Thank you, Jay. It’s been fun getting to know you through our partnership with Motive. Lizzie, as I mentioned before, you are our Assistant Vice President of Innovation here at Canal. Would you mind sharing a little bit more about your background, how long you’ve been at Canal, and how you spend your time here?
LK: Absolutely, yeah. So, I’ve been at Canal now, coming up on seven years. I think I can officially no longer say I’m new to insurance. Prior to joining Canal, my background was all things data related. For a long stint with Northrop Grman supporting the Department of Defense doing military analytics, and then a short stint supporting a whole delays with grocery store analytics, and then came over to Canal Insurance and started in product before I moved over to create our innovation department about three years ago now, and working on products like Miles per Canal, and thinking of ways we can benefit our the trucking industry and help. We know insurance is a big part of what they do out there on the road every day, and how we can help serve our customers. And one of those solutions that we’ve come up with is Miles per Canal, where they can take advantage of the telematics that they already have to get a better insurance product.
LB: Thanks, Lizzie. You’ve started talking about Miles per Canal already, but can you do a little bit more of a deep dive into how it works and why we’re excited about it?
LK: Absolutely, sure. We’re excited about it. I think we all are, across the organization, and with our partners like Motive. So, Miles per Canal is, to put it simply, pay-as-you-drive. For our customers, they have been in the trucking industry for a long time, right? They’re used to a big fat bill every year, every time they re-up their insurance for the upcoming year, and it’s a big expense. So what we’ve done is created a product that’s utilization-based. As they use miles, as they drive, they’re actually using the insurance. That’s when they’re creating exposure and have a risk. We have created a model where we’re only charging them when there’s a risk, when they’re out on the road. So it’s really great for our customer, especially when we think about some of the ups and downs of the economic cycle, especially in the trucking industry. Things can change dramatically there, and this gives them the flexibility to not need to think, “I’ve got to take this load that’s not good for my business just so I can pay my insurance bill.” That mode of thinking goes away. You know, the other thing I love about it is it allows them to have a little bit better work-life balance. They can take a vacation and not worry about needing to pay for insurance while they’re on vacation or what have you. So I think that’s something that is close to my heart for the product. I have a lot of compassion for those truckers that are out there every day, away from their families. So that time at home is important.
LB: Can you tell us a little bit, Lizzie, about how we got connected with Motive?
LK: Absolutely. So we reached out to motive because they’re a huge partner in the trucking space for telematics data, and the Miles per Canal product hinges on telematics data. And our customer profiles overlap so much that we wanted to work with them, not only from the RMS side where we have worked with them for helping our customers get access to the safety tools that Motive offers, but we also wanted to expand that relationship for our telematics product because of the customer overlap and that we can really work together to benefit the same customer profile.
LB: Lizzie, what do you think the value is that the partnership between Motive and Canal, specifically relating to Miles per Canal, brings our customers?
LK: That’s a great question. You know, for me, we really like it because the customer owns the relationship with Motive, right? They’re using that day in and day out. So instead of us coming to them and asking them to learn a new tool, they get to use a tool they’re already familiar with. They’re choosing Motive and they’re choosing us. So I think there’s some real benefit there in terms of them getting benefits from both our programs with one decision that makes life easier all the way around, right? I love it when I don’t have to learn a new tool just when I’ve got another solution that does the same thing. So I think that’s one of the real benefits for the partnerships for our customers, as well. Because Motive and Canal have a good partnership and work well together, you’re getting support from both sides. So if you’re having something, we’re both here to work with you to help figure out how we can solve the problem.
LB: Thank you, Lizzie. I appreciate you sharing those thoughts with us. And also, I think it’s really clear to see that you’re excited about our partnership with Motive, but I know I speak for the rest of the organization to say that we’re all very excited as well. Okay, Lizzie, now that you’ve covered the basics of Miles per Canal and the benefits of our Motive partnership, I’d like to pass it off to you to do some Q&A with Jay.
LK: Great, thanks so much, Laura Beth. So, Jay, you know, we talked a lot about our partnership and how excited we are to be working with you. Can you talk to us a little bit more about who Motive is and what y’all provide the industry?
JC: Absolutely. So essentially, what we are is a company that’s looking to connect fleets and help them automate their operations, in a simple sense. Actually, it might help to understand the history of Motive to comprehend the kind of solutions that we do provide. We actually got started in 2013 as Keep Trucking. Our goal, our mission, was to digitize the trucking industry. So we were looking for ways to bring data and insights to help our customers in their operations. We really started gaining traction on the small fleet side. Over the course of our 10 years, we actually just celebrated our 10-year anniversary, by the way. Over the course of our 10 years in business, we expanded not only up markets, we’re not only just serving the small, we serve the medium and large size fleets. But we also expanded beyond long-haul trucking. We’re also involved in other aspects of the commercial fleet business, whether it be construction, utilities, last-mile delivery, etcetera. We’re involved in. But still today, small fleets remain a core part of our business, as well as long-haul trucking. With the ELD mandate in 2017, we started to see exponential growth with the release of the Keep Trucking Vehicle Gateway. That vehicle gateway not only captures the data needed from a regulatory compliance standpoint, but also captures telematics data that feeds our drive score and our safety programs. This can be leveraged by companies like Canal, helping to enable the partnerships that we establish and feed the programs that you’re looking to do, when you’re looking to help minimize the operational costs of these fleets as well. A couple of things that I think are of note that kind of feed into how we’ve been growing: In 2019, we released our smart dash cam, which essentially plugs into the vehicle gateway. It captures videos of potential incidents out on the road. These videos can be used for training and coaching purposes later on. In 2021, we released our AI dash cam, which not only captures those events but also uses machine learning to be able to alert a driver of a potential incident on the road before it occurs. So it was really trying to mitigate the risk before it happens. When we tie all those things together, it becomes a very powerful tool for our customers. Not only to manage their business but really to manage the risks that are out on the road, which I think is a huge benefit to a program like Miles per Canal. A couple of things I want to mention: 2022 was a huge year for us. Keep Trucking changed its name to Motive. And really what happened was we recognized that not only had we expanded from small, medium, and large fleets, we had also expanded beyond the long-haul trucking business. And so what we recognized is that the name Keep Trucking did not encompass everything that we were trying to provide. And so, as we evolved, so should our name. So we changed our name to Motive, which reflects essentially the breadth of the problems that we solve and the industries we serve. Also in 2022, to toot our own horn, Motive had recognized that insurance was a huge operational cost to our customers. So they created a dedicated team to help serve the insurance needs of those customers. And whether these folks had experience working at insurance companies like myself, or there’re folks that were working serving insurance companies, or we had folks that had customer experience in insurance, we created a team of folks that have about a hundred years of experience. I have most of it, unfortunately, about a hundred years of experience dedicated to solving the insurance needs of our customers.
LK: Thank you so much, Jay. That was a great overview. In hearing more about how Motive got to where they are today and the different industry segments that they serve and why it’s important. I want to dive a little bit deeper and explore a little bit about your role at Motive and how that helps achieve some of the objectives that you’ve laid out that your company has.
JC: Yeah, yeah. So, our mission started with trying to bring the trucking industry online. But as our solutions evolved and the fleets we served evolved, and the industry we served evolved, our mission evolved as well. So we are looking to provide technology solutions that improve safety, efficiency, and profitability for our partner companies. My role is to establish partnerships with companies like yours within the insurance ecosystem. So, whether it’s the insurance companies or claims handling companies, anybody who can really help our customers manage their operations. We bring efficiencies to their operations. We help reduce risk on the road and improve the safety of their fleets. A lot of that revolves around the operational cost of a potential claim as well as reducing the downtime of an event in the event of an accident. We do this all through the technologies I described and the integration of them into the platform that helps the managers, help the fleet managers manage their operations, whether it’s the safety aspect or maintenance, dispatch, all of those things. We help them manage their entire operation. The way our insurance team is set up, we see that all three parties are striving for the same goal. We all have a mutual interest in improving road safety, so as it makes all of our operations more efficient, it helps reduce costs for all of us and reduces the risk. We do this through a combination of those partnerships as well as the technologies we provide and the data that is a result of those technologies to help inform the business.
LK: Yeah, I think that’s really interesting to hear you share with our listeners about the same motives, right? No pun intended there, but we’re all three working in the same direction. Our goals are really nicely aligned because the safer we are, the more cost savings everybody has and the more efficient. We all know time is money. So, the more our customers are able to stay on the road, the more successful their businesses are. And ultimately, I think that’s why both Motive and Canal are here is to help our customers have successful businesses. So that’s great to hear. Talking about our customers, can you dive in a little bit on the types of customers that Motive serves and the difference between the needs you see across those different customer bases?
JC: Yeah, so we serve customers that operate in the, in the entire physical economy, right? So, you know, the needs of a small long haul trucking might be a little bit different than the needs of a large long haul trucking company, and so when we started in long haul with a small fleets, we, we knew we needed to expand upmarket as well as expand into other industries as well. And so what we’ve done to help that along is we’ve created dedicated sales and support teams that have expertise based upon the size of the fleet. And so what that means for your listeners is really that we have a person who has that expertise in their particular needs. And so the needs of a small company might vary drastically from the needs of a large company. And so what we do is we take this approach really to be able to identify what the pain points are, and then find ways that we can address them. And to the point now today, we have achieved about a 98% customer satisfaction rating with that approach.
LK: Congratulations, that’s awesome.
JC: Yeah, yeah, we’re very excited about that. So what we see, you know, the customers vary, their needs vary, and we build our solutions and support to be able to assist them in their oations and then grow with them as they grow.
LK: Yeah, I think that’s fascinating, supporting the customer all the way through. So can you, I think you’ve probably touched on it some with the passion that y’all have for your customers throughout their journeys. Can you talk a little bit about why your customers are choosing Motive?
JC: I think there are a number of reasons why they might choose Motive. It’s an attractive solution for the fleet because, you know, it starts with our seamless integration and integrated technology. So, not only do the cameras work well with the vehicle gateways and capture that data, but also the output of that technology. The data would then turn into something usable for our customers in their user interface, making it a usable platform for them to manage their business. I think a second thing that we do is release new features, improvements, and new technologies each year to kind of stay ahead of what the customers’ needs are. For example, we recently released the next generation of our safety score. You know, it captures the advances in the technologies, but then also helps our customers and our partners get more informed about the risks that are potentially out on the road. Another example on the products side, we provide the AI dash cams. So those AI dash cams are built to not only capture the data that is occurring, so not only the videos that are occurring to capture the events, but then also to try to mitigate the event before it happens—alert the driver before an event occurs. So really trying to, again, mitigate that risk. Anyway, another example, we recently released our Omnicam solution. This gives our fleet operators a 360-degree view of what is going on around their vehicle at any given point. So I think all those types of things are advantages that Canal customers can take advantage of. Another thing is the easy use of all that technology, right? So not only is it simple to install hardware, but then also, you know, because it’s a truly plug and play solution. It simply plugs into the port on the vehicle and then plugs into the vehicle gateway, recording all the information that you need. Cameras are simply plugged into the vehicle gateway, and they’re off and running. Also, it has an intuitive interface, so, you know, it helps the customer in all aspects of their business. Now, you know, we’re talking about insurance aspects, but I think beyond that, there are also other aspects of the business, such as maintenance, fuel efficiencies, all those things that they need to manage the business. I think a good example of why customers choose Motive is a recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. And that study can be found on our website as well, gomotive.com. The study found that Motive’s AI dash cam was the most accurate camera in the industry, with the ability to alert drivers to unsafe behaviors 86% of the time. So what that means then is that accuracy and that dependability are what customers are looking for. So those types of technologies are attractive to our customer base. Finally, I think another reason would be the partnerships that we create. So we develop partnerships with companies like Canal to be able to serve the needs of our customers. And we have a partnerships team that not only works just in insurance but helps across multiple verticals representing various operations for our customers. So with our insurance team, for example, the Miles per Canal program is a unique offering that we see in the market today. We think that will really help reduce insurance costs. Meanwhile, it can use the collision videos to manage claim processing faster and also help exonerate drivers in the event of those accidents. Today we see a 72% exoneration rate just by using our technology. So we tie all that integrated technology together with our partnership services, and we tie it all together with the customer and support that we had talked about earlier.
LK: Yeah, that’s great. The 72% exoneration rate is amazing. And I’m not surprised. I had the pleasure of demoing your products, and I was nearly run off the road. I was so excited to go back and look at the video. Luckily, you know, there was no accident. So I didn’t need it. But it did make me feel good to know that, oh, I had this and just had something happen. So I think that’s a really cool tool that the customers have available. Thank you for diving in. I think you touched on the ease of customers getting the tools that you’ve created integrated into their process flow. Can you talk a little bit more about how you view Motive and its enhancement of the Miles per Canal program, specifically for our Canal customers?
JC: Yeah, so as I mentioned, I think the Miles per Canal program is unique to the insurance industry. You know, looking at insurance costs based upon the number of miles you drive, I think what that does is it helps fleets not only be more efficient in their routing, but also in how they manage their operations. Now, our system captures all of that information that you need for that program. But then also, we can supplement that with the safety aspects of our program as well. So we capture the driving events, we capture our safety score. We also do industry comparisons to give you an understanding of how your fleet is doing relative to others. It really is all about that risk management solution that we provide. And so I think there’s value in capturing those events. It not only identifies what the driver’s doing really well, but it also identifies the things that might be risky if you’re out on the road. So there’s value in being able to see that because now you can learn from how you’re driving and how you can improve from a risk standpoint. That benefits not only the driver, but it also benefits the fleet, Canal, and everyone involved in that whole solution. So, you know, an example of that in 2022, we did a study of about 5,000 Motive customers that we were looking at, the effectiveness of using the Motive cameras, our safety platform, and those coaching capabilities that come along in that platform. What we found was a significant reduction in unsafe behaviors, to the tune of whether it be heavy braking, distracted driving, following too closely, all of those types of things. What we saw was a 56% incident reduction just by using that platform and those technologies that are in it. And then on top of that, what we also saw was a 22% reduction in accidents. So if we combine all of those things together, it becomes a very powerful tool to be able to help inform the Miles per Canal program to be able to reduce operational costs and also improve road safety.
LK: Yeah, that’s great. You know, I think one of the things that Canal loves about the Miles per Canal program is that we’re focused on when risk is created while you’re driving on the road. Your tool still allows our shared customers to take advantage of safety improvements. It lets them have their hands on the wheel to really improve their safety, which ultimately benefits everyone, like you said, along the value chain. So that’s great. So Jay, this has been a great conversation on everything that y’all have done so far. Can you spend a little time talking about what you’re excited to be working on next and what’s coming down the pike for Motive?
JC: Yeah, absolutely. So from my standpoint of being on the partnerships team, I get exposure to a lot of things that are happening within Motive, not only on our partnerships team but also from engineering, from data science, etcetera. I think one of the things we’re very excited about, especially with this partnership, is that it’s a unique program basing it upon miles. It’s different from what we see in the rest of the industry, and I think that brings a layer of intrigue to potential customers—whether through you or through us. So, I think there’s some excitement there. The other thing we might see, for example, that could be a benefit to Canal customers is from the data science team. We recently released our next or second generation of our SIG driver safety score. What that is doing is not only capturing the capabilities it had before but also capturing the advancements in technology, as well as being able to use that information to help better inform the behaviors out on the road, as well as what we might see across the entire Motive universe. So that kind of information becomes, you know, as we add more data, a more powerful tool to be leveraged from a safety standpoint for those customers. On the engineering or product side, we’re very excited about where the AI dash cam is going. You know, the ability for it to use machine learning to adapt and be able to identify not only the events and record those events but also to be able to use those events and instantaneously alert the driver that something could occur on the road—whether they’re following too closely or, you know, an inadvertent lane change, those types of things. Even distracted driving, you know, picking up the cell phone, it alerts that driver in the cab that this is happening. So it really helps reduce those potential accidents out on the road. Then, you know, the other thing I’d mention from our engineering team is the Omnicam. The release of that Omnicam is of real interest to our customer base because now it puts a camera in spots where they hadn’t been able to see things before. So now they’re able to record events that might be happening on the side or the back of the vehicle, and they can later use that from a safety and coaching angle. Then I think the other thing I would be remiss if I didn’t mention is another solution that came out of our partnerships team, not out of the insurance side but one of the other verticals. We recently released our fleet card solution to customers, so it helps fleets manage their spend as well as provide fuel discounts and then helps reduce fraud that they might see in that spend as well. All of these things, you know, I talk about; these are all exciting things happening across our organization. And I think they’re all exciting things that will, you know, really benefit our customers and help expand our relationship with Canal. It helps drive a lot of the participation we expect to see.
LK: Absolutely, that’s really exciting. The Omnicam, obviously, and the AI dash cam are, I think, great tools for the customer to learn, and see all sides of their business in more depth, and the fuel card, I think, is great. Anything that eases the burdens our customers face, I am always excited for, so that’s great. I’m glad to hear that’s coming down the pipe. Thanks so much, Jay.
JC: Thank you. I appreciate you guys taking the time.
LM: Thank you Jay and Lizzie for joining us today. This has been a great conversation and I can’t wait to see the future success of both our Canal Insurance and Motive customers.
LK: Thanks so much, Laura Beth. Enjoyed being here.
JC: Thanks to both of you. I really enjoyed our time.
LM: Listeners, if you’re interested in learning more about Miles per Canal and Motive, please check out the links in our show notes. Thank you for joining us today and stay tuned for the rest of Haulin’ Notes by Canal Insurance Company as we roll out season two.