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The Effect of Autonomous Vehicles on Insurance

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 26, 2017 10:58:07 AM / by Jenny Zhang

Jenny Zhang

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What if I told you that in just twenty years, it is estimated that there will be 23 million autonomous vehicles on highways in the US?

How does it make you feel? Uneasy? Excited? Both?!

The technology for autonomous driving has arrived. And with that, change is inevitable. Here are some of the ways this technology will shift the insurance industry:


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Premium Shifts

When buying auto insurance today, accident liability rests on the driver of the vehicle. So what happens when the driver is removed from this equation? While many debate that the accident rate will drop once autonomous driving is widely implemented, it’s impossible to presume that this rate will be reduced to zero. This means that accident liability still exists – but will shift away from the driver.

In the UK, the Department of Transport has unveiled a plan for two-in-one insurance products for autonomous vehicles. This product covers both the risk of the motorist when they’re driving and the car when it is in autonomous mode.

Scott Mclaren, Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer of Fortegra, explains an alternative possibility where premiums could be passed off to other parties including: the auto manufacturer, software designer, or even the government.


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Regulation Shifts

As society norms shift with the usage of autonomous vehicles, the terms used in insurance today could become fuzzy. This in turn, will necessitate a shift in regulations.

What is considered to be negligent driving today will be radically different to what is considered negligent driving with an autonomous vehicle. For example, taking your eyes off the road while driving today would be extremely dangerous and considered negligent, but will this still apply when the car is automated? 


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Product Shifts

As more people start to use autonomous vehicles, new products will need to be introduced to compliment their usage.

An example of this is cyber-insurance. Autonomous vehicles are connected devices, and as such, they will need to be protected against the same threats that computers face. These threats include something as simple as a system error to something more severe like a criminal or terrorist hijacking – which will be a new avenue that underwriters will need to explore.

Infrastructure is another avenue that needs to be explored. As the responsibility of driving shifts away from the driver towards artificial intelligence, the data that is uploaded for analyzing will increase. This means that servers will also need to be insured.


Change is coming to the industry, and the earliest movers will have the most to gain. If your organization wants to be a part of this movement, co-create with us on our upcoming autonomous vehicle project

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Topics: autonomous vehicles

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