Canadian Underwriter

Critical time for insurance industry to get involved with automated vehicles

May 6, 2016   by Jeff Pearce

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driverless-carA new report put out by the Insurance Institute warns that the insurance industry has about 10 years as regular cars evolve into semi-automated vehicles, and this is “a critical time” for the business to “champion the remarkable potential to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries.”

In the research paper, Automated Vehicles: Implications for the Insurance Industry in Canada, it’s predicted that automakers and tech firms could possibly start building fully automated vehicles in the next half century. “There is the potential for the insurance industry to step up as a champion for the safety benefits that may flow from the appropriate use of vehicle automation, as the industry did with graduated licensing, the fight to eliminate drinking and driving, use of seat belts, and a number of other road safety measures.”

The report asks several hard questions the industry will have to answer as regular Toyotas and Fords share the road with semi-automated and fully self-driving cars. Such as: Will there be a device to check if the tech in the vehicle was on during a collision? Will insurers have access to this information? How will they recover costs when automakers are at fault? How does the price tag get shared if both the driver screws up and the automated system is at fault?

Among its recommendations, the report suggests working with regulators to clarify liability and develop policy wordings to focus on shared personal and vehicle responsibility; undertake a research program on policy issues and regulations; and launch communications initiatives to “inform drivers and other stakeholders about the importance of insurance protection for all vehicles…”


This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.