Automakers and insurers are experiencing a unique confluence that could bring significant benefits to customers.

Consider this: Automakers and insurers have a nearly 100% overlap in their customer base. This is because virtually all auto insurance customers also own autos. With the exception of uninsured motorists, all auto owners also are auto insurance customers.

Think about the numerous potential benefits automakers and insurers could serve up to their mutual customers by collectively sharing telematics-based information with each other. The most obvious one is lowering the total cost of vehicle ownership by applying usage- or behavior-based data derived from the vehicle to allow customers to qualify for discounts on insurance premiums.

This type of data collection also yields other important benefits, such as creating better drivers, coaching young drivers to learn and develop good habits and helping more mature drivers understand their limitations.

Broader benefits could include helping the auto owner mitigate risk by gathering information about the vehicle’s current state.

For example, if a vehicle has an unresolved safety issue (such as an airbag defect), the vehicle could share this information with the insurer, who then could prompt the vehicle owner to resolve the issue. This type of information-sharing has the added benefit of positioning the insurer as a trusted risk advisor, enhancing the customer relationship.

Clearly, cross-industry collaboration on telematics has the potential to greatly increase customer satisfaction. However, there is a complication in terms of integrating information within a multiple-vehicle-per-policyholder environment that both industries will need to address to make the process run smoothly.

There are 82 million active insured households in the U.S. The policies for these households insure 170 million vehicles. Most of these households include more than one vehicle: 32% have two vehicles, 15% have three and 15% have four or more.

Adding to the complexity is the fact that these vehicles often are from different manufacturers. In total, 45% of all insured households in the U.S. have two or more vehicle makes in the household. The net-net is that 45% of auto-insurance policies share their customer with two or more different automakers.

Therefore, if an insurer wants to provide driving scores and other feedback to their customers using both vehicle- and behavior-based data, 45% of the time it will need to bring together data from different sources into a single customer-feedback mechanism to deliver a meaningful and satisfying customer experience.

While this complexity doesn’t diminish the customer value of these shared services, it does complicate their delivery. This issue signals an opportunity for the creation of an aggregator platform or exchange model that acts as a go-between for the auto manufacturers and the insurance industry.

As an insurer, the question is: Do you want to invest your finite amount of resources in bringing disparate but related data together for your customers? Or would you rather invest in a single, consistent data stream that makes your business processes more efficient while providing a seamless customer experience?

This is the type of solution automakers and insurers should be embracing to increase customer engagement, improve retention and create a better, safer driving environment.

David Lukens is director of telematics for LexisNexis Risk Solutions.