Insurance: Adapting to Autonomous Technology

autonomous vehicles
The spectacular rise in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicle technology, such as emergency braking systems, will reduce both the number of accidents and claim frequency. (Photo: Volvo)

According to Fitch Ratings, as autonomous vehicles will eventually become the norm, the insurance industry will undergo a complete transformation. Not only will these autonomous and semi-autonomous technologies reduce accident rates and claim frequency, responsibility will be shifted from the driver towards the vehicle manufacturer.

While the transformation will happen over several years, Fitch is warning insurers that they will be forced to diversify their business models, while those too slow to change may very well disappear. These technologies will shift responsibility from the driver to the vehicle manufacturer, while reducing overall risk in the long term.

“The question as to who will be responsible whenever a collision involving an autonomous vehicle occurs will be a fundamental shift impacting the future of the insurance industry,” stated Fitch Ratings. A new law in the U.K. allows insurers to request compensation from vehicle manufacturers in cases where the accident was caused by a technology failure. Insurance policies will shift from personal to commercial, as manufacturers will be increasingly liable for vehicle accidents.

Furthermore, as there will be fewer collision-damaged vehicles heading to repair shops, claim frequencies will drop radically. For example, Volvo recently promised that by 2020, the technology mounted in their new vehicles will eliminate deaths and serious injuries resulting from accidents.

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