Canadian Underwriter

Autonomous vehicles will add US$81 billion in new premiums for U.S. auto insurers by 2025: report

May 18, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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Insurance coverage for autonomous vehicles will bring US$81 billion in new premiums to the auto insurance industry in the United States over the next eight years, according to a new report from Accenture and Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT).

The new premiums will be driven by risks related to cybersecurity, software and hardware and by the need for additional public infrastructure coverage, Accenture suggested in a press release on Thursday.

“Insurers are bracing for long-term declines in auto premiums as new and safer autonomous vehicles gain adoption,” said John Cusano, a senior managing director at Accenture and global head of the company’s Insurance practice. “However, our research suggests that auto premiums will increase before they decline on this trend, so insurers that can navigate the changing technology environment could win market share.”

For the report, titled Insuring Autonomous Vehicles: An $81 Billion Opportunity by 2025, SIT developed several models to evaluate the impact of autonomous vehicle technology on the insurance industry. These models were then applied to different scenarios and insurance products based on parameters set by Accenture’s Insurance and Connected Transport teams.

The research found that cybersecurity, product (software and hardware) liability and public infrastructure insurance for autonomous vehicles could reach a total of US$81 billion by 2025. This premium growth will precede an anticipated decline in industry revenue beginning in 2026 and, as roads become safer and policies shift from consumers to autonomous vehicle manufacturers and other service providers, insurers will see reduced demand for personal insurance, the release said.

Larry Karp, a co-author of the report and global insurance telematics lead in Accenture Mobility, part of Accenture Digital, said that “three new business lines – cybersecurity, product liability for sensors and software algorithms, and public infrastructure – are going to drive billions in new insurance premiums for the U.S. auto insurance industry in the coming years. Forward-thinking insurers are already putting these new products at the top of their agenda as they look to capitalize on the first-mover advantage.”

The research found that cybersecurity insurance will be the greatest potential driver of new premiums, totalling US$64 billion by 2025, followed by product liability insurance (US$14 billion) and public infrastructure insurance (US$3 billion).

According to the report, these three new business lines include the following aspects:

  • Cybersecurity – Protection against remote vehicle theft, unauthorized entry, ransomware and hijacking of vehicle controls, as well as coverage for identity theft, privacy breaches and the theft or misuse of personal data;
  • Product liability for sensors and software algorithms – Manufacturer coverage for failures related to communications (e.g., Internet connection), software (including bugs, memory overflow and program defects) and hardware (sensory circuit failure, camera vision loss, and radar and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) failures); and
  • Public infrastructure – Insurance for cloud server systems that manage traffic and road networks, in addition to failure of external sensors and signals; and communication problems originating at the system level.

The other co-author of the report, Chen Liu, a research assistant at SIT’s School of Systems and Enterprises, said that the research is “an important step in helping insurers understand how their business models need to evolve over the next decade. Autonomous-vehicle technology will drive a significant shift in risk from human error to malicious third party, software, hardware and infrastructure risk. Understanding and proactively responding to this anticipated enterprise transformation is imperative.”

For the research project, Accenture, in collaboration with SIT, conducted proprietary research into autonomous vehicle technology and its impact on the U.S. insurance industry. Dynamic algorithmic forecasting models were constructed, with researchers using different variables and assumptions to forecast expected premium declines and gains for U.S. insurers. The release noted that these assumptions included, among other things: differing speed of adoption and market saturation of autonomous vehicle technology; accident rates and severity; population and vehicle mileage growth rates; current and future expected software and hardware failure rates; and expected sensor requirements in small, medium and large cities.

Accenture is a global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions, the company has approximately 401,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries.

Stevens Institute of Technology is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, N.J. Founded in 1870, the university is home to three national research centres of excellence, as well as joint research programs focused on industries such as healthcare, energy, finance, defence, maritime security, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and coastal sustainability.

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