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Meet Nino Tarantino of Octo Telematics

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nino Tarantino.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am the CEO of Octo North America. Under my leadership, our operations recently surpassed three million usage-based insurance (UBI) users in North America, a 50% increase over just one year. I am also the Board Director of the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA) and was previously General Manager of Acotel USA, operating in the mobile premium content and value-added services sector and VP of Business Development at Anoto Group AB, a global leader in digital writing solutions.

Octo Telematics was founded in 2002 in Rome and entered the US market in 2011. It is now headquartered in London, with offices in Boston, Rome, Stuttgart, Madrid, and Sao Paulo. Octo was the first company to offer ad hoc telematics solutions for the insurance and automotive market; and was the first dedicated insurance telematics platform, quickly establishing itself as a leading market innovator in Italy and across Europe.

When Octo entered the US market, it fulfilled the needs of Tier One insurers facing technology innovations and expansions. Octo changed the communications paradigm between insurers and policyholders, impacting insurance partners’ bottom lines, and enabling insurers to embrace the IoT revolution. Over the last 15 years, Octo has continuously brought advanced and reliable telematics solutions to the market such as its new Glimpse Plus, a digitally-enabled telematics service that provides a reliable way for insurers to use the combination of policyholder smartphones and a small tag sensor to gather accurate data on driving behavior, as well as more detailed crash detection for claims analysis.

As the world’s largest insurance telematics provider, Octo has additional solutions to power other connected user services, including vehicle diagnostics, fleet management and real-time monitoring of environmental conditions.

Octo is not the first time I was recruited to launch a US market for a global company. I also led Alcotel’ssuccessful entry into the US market and launched the first premium SMS and MMS (including the 2004 Olympics coverage) mobile premium content service in North America under the brand name Flycell. Prior to that, I focused on business development and global market program development for various companies in Rome, Washington DC and Boston.

I studied in Rome where I received my Master’s in Engineering and Telecommunications from Università La Sapienza di Roma. I now live in Newton, MA with my wife and three children, who keep me going!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Although there are always bumps in business, it has been a fairly smooth road for us in North America. Entering the market in 2011, we had the advantage of already being the largest telematics provider in the world, which helped to open doors with Tier 1 insurers. The challenges have been more associated with that, perhaps, we were a bit ahead of the market’s readiness for the power of telematics data.

Insurance has not been interrupted much in the last few decades, so part of our challenge was to educate insurance partners on the ease of this evolution and the value across the entire spectrum of the business of insurance. We quickly began working with Tier 1 insurers such as Liberty Mutual, State Auto, AAA Nationwide and more across the U.S. and Canada. Now, we’ve expanded into Mexico as well.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Octo Telematics – what should we know?
We are the leading global provider of telematics and data analytics solutions for the auto insurance industry. Founded in 2002 and launched in North America in 2011, Octo is one of the pioneers of the insurance telematics industry.

Today, Octo is the largest and most experienced insurance telematics company in the world, transforming auto insurance through behavioral, contextual and driving analytics for more than 100 insurance partners. Octo has more than 5.4 million connected users and the largest global database of telematics data, with over 186 billion miles of driving data collected and 438,000 crashes and insurance events analyzed (as of December 31, 2017).

We’re most proud of our customers who fuel our growth and continued innovation, as well as our market-leading telematics database that delivers powerful new insights into driver risk, informing solutions that benefit both auto insurance companies and policyholders.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Awareness. In business, understanding the market needs, fast execution, and relentless focus on client partnerships with shared success has fueled our growth.

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