One of the biggest pieces of news to hit the autonomous vehicle sector this last month was Volvo’s announcement that the company will accept full responsibility for any accidents caused by its driverless cars. Mercedes and Google “have made similar claims as manufacturers race to create a full-functioning, legal car of the future”. The implications for the insurance industry are enormous.
Despite the addition of driver assistance features to vehicles intended to help avoid collisions, the growing number of in-vehicle distractions is resulting in greater opportunity for driver distraction. A recently released study concludes that “aids”, such as Siri, distract drivers for up to 27 seconds after the interaction with the device is complete. Driving at 40 km/h, distraction of 27 seconds would cover a distance equivalent to 3 football fields.
The “misuse” by some Tesla drivers of Tesla’s autopilot (released in October via a software update) combined with the in-vehicle distractions should clearly spell danger for insurers.
KPMG released a report that concludes that autonomous vehicles could shrink US personal auto insurance by 60%. The impact would be underestimated if autonomous vehicles are defined as fully autonomous.
Munich Re has launched its Mobility Domain. It is part of the company’s enhanced focus on innovation and emerging risks. Driverless vehicle technology will be an important focus of the Mobility Domain’s activities.
Google is intensifying its investments and partnerships in the insurance technology space. The company has signed off on at least 6 separate partnerships and investments in insurance tech just this year. It looks like the Silicon Valley giant has its sights set on disrupting the multi-trillion dollar insurance business.