Automobile insurance in the era of autonomous vehicles – KPMG
Article Synopsis :
Will autonomous vehicles revolutionise the design and features of auto insurance products? Will self-driving cars spell doom for auto insurance as we know it today? This comprehensive survey from KPMG attempts to answer these questions in C-level detail.
“Automobile insurance in the era of autonomous vehicles”, summarizes feedback from insurance senior executives whose companies, in aggregate, account for almost $85 billion in private and commercial auto premium. Participants responded to a comprehensive set of 33 questions around the potential transformation of insurance precipitated by autonomous vehicles.
The report identifies eight core elements likely to drive transformation creating a ‘new normal’ across the automobile insurance sector:
- Integrity of technology
- Capability accessibility
- Legal responsibility
- Infrastructure availability
- Regulatory permission
- Mobility services
- Data management
- Consumer adoption
The survey offers several important insights summarized below and further detailed in the report:
Timing: The majority of personal and commercial auto insurers believe we will not witness a significant change in the market for at least another decade. As a result most insurers don’t plan to directly address this issue in the near term (12-18 months).
Topical knowledge: Only 29% of respondents felt very knowledgeable about autonomous vehicles, while another 23% professed little or no knowledge on the topic.
Preparation: Beyond preliminary discussions few insurers have taken action in preparation for the precipitation of driverless vehicles. 74% of companies are not prepared for the change.
New products and competitors: Insurers see opportunities to develop new products aimed at autonomous vehicles, also new entrants into the market, specifically auto manufacturers, data, and technology companies. Google in particular is cited as a threat in data, distribution, and as a potential carrier.
Early adapters: Insurers expect technology firms to drive the adaption of driverless cars, with younger drivers, aged 15-44, leading the way.
Shifts in the insurance landscape: Insurers expect driverless cars to lead to a decrease in claims, therefore a (perhaps substantial) decrease in policy premiums.
Legal and regulatory issues: Insurers expect legal and regulatory issues to play a significant role in adaption. The legal system will likely play an expanded role in establishing fault.
Business operations: Insurers see underwriting, product management, and claims requiring significant revision as autonomous cars enter the market, with the primary focus on underwriting.
KPMG’s analysis makes increasingly clear the automobile landscape is poised for radical change. The convergence of consumer and automotive technologies along with the rise of mobility services will transform the way we drive and commute – sooner than most expect. Seven high-level steps are recommended for immediate or near-term adaption:
- Understand your company’s exposure to change
- Evaluate your business strategy
- Identify and monitor leading indicators
- Prepare your operations
- Understand cost structures
- Educate and train your people
- Align with other insurers and form partnerships
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Digital Insurer's CommentsOnly 3% of firms participating in the survey have allocated more than 1% of their operations budget toward preparing for driverless vehicles and 68% of respondents have allocated nothing. Is this prudence or avoidance? It is of course up to each carrier to decide based on their business mix and strategic positioning.
The insurance industry, by its own admission, isn’t known for innovation. Which is why automobile manufacturers and, especially, technology companies pose such a serious threat. Auto manufacturers understand driverless cars will shift liability from car owners to car manufacturers, and that reducing automobile TCO (of which insurance is a key factor) is key to driving sales. Technology firms, meanwhile, are expert at monetizing data. Auto manufacturers see insurance as a means to an end, rather than an end itself. And technology firms see risk as something which can be reduced if not eliminated rather than insured.
Over the next ten years the term ‘driver’ will be substantially redefined; so too will the term ‘insurer’.
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