Tesla Insurance data is proving very valuable for the electric vehicle maker, so much so that some changes to the company’s vehicles have been implemented because of it.
During the recently-held fourth quarter and full-year earnings call, Tesla investors asked CFO Zachary Kirkhorn when Tesla Insurance would become big enough to warrant details in the company’s financials. Kirkhorn noted that it’s probably going to take some time before Tesla Insurance grows to the point where it needs disclosures, but even in its current state, it has already been very useful.
Following Kirkhorn’s comments, CEO Elon Musk highlighted that there are actually some important side benefits that Tesla Insurance offers to the company. While Tesla Insurance allows the EV maker to offer insurance services for its vehicles at a competitive and affordable cost, it also provides a very useful feedback loop for the company’s efforts to minimize the cost of repair for its vehicles.
“It is also giving us a good feedback loop into minimizing the cost of repair of Teslas — for all Teslas worldwide — because we obviously want to minimize the cost of repairing a Tesla if it’s in a collision… And previously, we didn’t actually have good insight into that because the other insurance companies would cover the cost. And actually, the cost in some cases were unreasonably high,” Musk said.
Tesla Insurance data has been so useful for the company that Musk revealed that some changes to the design and software of its vehicles were driven by data from the program. Tesla Insurance also provided the company with valuable insights on how it could improve its parts and service, which is arguably a pain point among owners over the years.
“So we’ve actually adjusted the design of the car and made changes in the software of the car to minimize the cost of repair… So it’s giving us this really good feedback before, again, reducing cost… Most accidents are actually small. They’re like a broken fender or scratched side of the car or something like, the vast majority of accidents.
“But we’re actually solving how to get somebody’s car repaired very quickly and efficiently… It’s remarkable how small changes in the design of the bumper and improving the logistics of spare parts or providing spare parts needed for collision repair have an enormous effect on the repair cost… So, this has actually a very significant effect on the total cost of ownership and customer happiness,” Musk said.