Article Synopsis :
Travelers public policy division The Travelers Institute has released a white paper called Insuring Autonomy: How auto insurance can adapt to changing risks, that outlines the framework for autonomous vehicle insurance covering both personal and commercial. The context is on resolving claims and providing fair compensation to accident victims as vehicles become more autonomous.
The white paper offers the following recommendations to facilitate an effective auto insurance system:
- Develop a model state law relating to autonomous vehicle insurance that builds on the current state-based regulatory and oversight structure.
- Require vehicle owners — including personal, ride-sharing and company-owned vehicles — to purchase and maintain adequate insurance.
- Provide for sufficient coverage to account for the more expensive technology used in autonomous vehicles.
- Establish strong cybersecurity requirements for autonomous vehicles, including appropriate data-sharing protocols.
- Utilise insurers’ extensive consumer communication programs to help educate customers and the public on autonomous vehicle safety.
- Ensure representation of the insurance industry in policymaking and stakeholder forums.
The research suggests the adoption of autonomous driving technology will lead to fewer accidents, collisions that do occur will likely result in costlier repairs and raise difficult questions relating to driver and manufacturer liability, victim compensation and data collection. The general risks that come with vehicle ownership, autonomous or not, will remain, including risks related to weather and theft.
Although some experts predict that market saturation for fully autonomous vehicles may not occur for a few more decades, the market is clearly moving in that direction, and policy and regulatory regimes (along with industries like insurance) must adapt now
“With the increasing adoption of semi-autonomous vehicles and the potential for fully autonomous vehicles, several policy-related questions and challenges are beginning to emerge.
“It’s important that the insurance industry play a central role in policymaking discussions to develop a uniform legal and regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles. Ensuring that a clear risk transfer mechanism is in place will help facilitate the development of autonomous vehicles and the improved safety we expect they will bring to our roads.” said Michael Klein, executive vice president and president, personal insurance at Travelers.
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Digital Insurer's CommentsNobody likes to have their driving criticised, but the data is starting to show that roads might be safer if machines, rather than humans, were driving vehicles.
There will always be some wrinkles, mainly around anomalies caused by weather and the impact of theft.
Whatever the outcome, insurance companies will be right in the thick of it, as they will be the ones underwriting the risks.
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