Article Synopsis :
As driverless cars get closer to reality insurers are developing plans with tightening timelines.
The white paper “Driverless Cars: Time for Insurers to Shift Gears” by Cognizant addresses these timelines head on and offers advice on what personal auto insurance carriers in particular can do in the impending transitional period to stay ahead of the competition.
The evolution of Driverless Technology, per the paper, is going to be a three-phase process wherein driving control shifts incrementally from human drivers to semi-autonomous to fully-autonomous machines by 2022. To determine a way forward insurers must understand autonomous cars from the following perspectives:
- Evolution: Technology evolution will follow a three-phase timeframe wherein self-driving automation technology will ultimately lead to commercial deployment of completely autonomous vehicles starting around 2022
- Adoption: The adoption of driverless car technology depends on five factors: safety, cost, behavior, regulation and car life. Regulators will play a major role defining the rules and guidelines facilitating the launch and use of driverless cars
- Coverage: Driverless cars will have significant impact on the insurance industry and carriers will ultimately have to be ready for a world where liability eventually shifts toward Manufacturers/Network Providers/Insureds. Insuring data will be more important than insuring individuals
- Price: New pricing and underwriting parameters will emerge over time on top of existing factors such as insured details, vehicle details, vehicle usage and loss history. Underwriting will become more accurate and safety features will outweigh the value of the car in premium pricing
- Claims management: Driverless cars will require a complete overhaul of the claims management process. The new process will be highly time efficient, automated and see a drop in claims frequency and severity as we move into the driverless world
- External factors: Regulatory activity will evolve throughout the various driverless-car phases as the driver is ultimately replaced by the vehicle itself as the controlling entity. Regulations regarding risks, liability and accountability will be more complex taking shape as the technology unfolds
For carriers the impending future of autonomous cars is as promising as it is perplexing. Beyond exploring how driverless technology impacts pricing, underwriting and claims the paper issues six high-level recommendations for forward-thinking carriers to prepare for the driver-less world:
- Analyze existing books of business and determine future target segments and transition timelines
- Develop a scenario-based action plan
- Develop a product strategy
- Form a partner ecosystem
- Capture, process and utilize data
- Develop and test products
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Digital Insurer's CommentsAs potential disruptions go in the auto insurance industry none loom larger than driverless cars. We’ve reviewed white papers predicting the demise of as much as $20b in global auto insurance premium. As Warren Buffet said recently, ‘Though safer cars and fewer accidents are definitely good for humanity, we won’t be holding any parties at our insurance companies.’
The good news is the transition will be gradual, with widespread adaption hitting, suggests this report, in 2022. Forward thinkers are preparing to willingly transform their business models to tap new opportunities that emerge. Yes, automation kills the status quo, but it also creates markets for new types of services and new forms of underwriting. The key question is: How best to rate raw data generated by humans rather than the humans themselves?
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