Technology giants and automakers are investing billions of dollars to develop driverless cars that promise road safety. But who pays in a crash?
The transportation revolution raises big questions for insurance companies about liability, data and future income. With ongoing tests without drivers in different markets, the policy makers are already preparing for the new landscape.
Great Britain is working to ensure a regulatory framework when automated vehicles reach the road. Legislators passed the Law on Automated and Electric Vehicles (AEV) last year, which provides more clarity on insurance policies and liability for traffic accidents involving vehicles without drivers.
For example, in other markets, such as the United States, the state of the game is less secure.
What happens to responsibility?
David Williams, technical director of AXA Insurance UK, explained that British regulations contain a clear liability structure and that car owners still have to buy insurance that complies with traffic regulations.
Many automated cars can switch mode from automatic to driver-controlled, but it is "too complicated" to cover two different insurance policies for each scenario.
Instead, car owners buy insurance that covers both driving modes. Insurers continue to pay claims but may incur certain costs from car manufacturers if their technology causes an accident.
Williams estimates that the number of traffic accidents will decrease, with insurers likely to receive fewer motorcycle claims. "Part of these claims will be passed on to the manufacturers," he said.
Insurers want comparable rules to be applied throughout Europe.
"We believe that liability insurance works well to protect road users and this will be the case even with constant technological advances, such as connected and autonomous vehicles," said insurance chief Nicolas Jeanmart. personally, generally. Insurance and Macroeconomics in Insurance Europe.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the US Department of Transportation. UU., Human errors play a role in 94% of car accidents.
Automated cars can eliminate this human error factor and lead to safer roads (and lower insurance premiums) for car owners. "If over time 50% of the cars are safer and have fewer accidents, that means the remaining manual cars will also have fewer accidents," Williams said.
The cost of accidents involving automated vehicle accidents could initially be high due to the cost of replacing the damaged technology, such as sensors. Williams believes, however, that the costs will decrease with increasing production of autonomous vehicles.
When accidents happen, the new technology means a better understanding of what happened and who is to blame.
"To handle claims as quickly and smoothly as possible, it is imperative that insurers and other eligible prospects have access to relevant information about the vehicle that identifies the facts of an accident so that liability can be properly shared," said Jeanmart.
A changing market
Insurers expect that switching to cars without drivers will ultimately lead to lower premiums for car insurance and new products.
For example, Williams said that insurers could offer insurance products that encourage car owners to use the stand-alone mode more often, which incentivizes the premium to reflect risk mitigation.
In the future, automated vehicles could enable joint ownership of cars, which would lead to new types of insurance policies.
"Even with shared vehicles, the vehicle itself still has to be insured, regardless of whether the insurance is shared between the owners or not," said Jeanmart.