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Insurers to play critical role in shift to autonomous driving, says Travelers

26th January 2021 - Author: Matt Sheehan

A new report by Travelers reaffirms the company’s belief that the auto insurance industry will play a “critical role” as lawmakers, regulators and society adjust to innovations in transportation, including the shift towards autonomous driving.

automated vehicleAmong the key points of the report, Travelers recommends that any proposed legal and regulatory framework governing autonomous vehicles includes provisions specifically related to auto insurance, which should continue to be the primary compensation method for claimants.

Analysts also stressed coordination among local, state and federal lawmakers and regulators, who should seek input from all relevant constituents to ensure a consistent, rational regulatory system that addresses all potential issues.

According to Travlers, vehicle owners should also be required to purchase and maintain adequate insurance for their autonomous vehicles – including sufficient coverage for the inherently more expensive technology – whether they are personal, ride-hailing or company-owned vehicles.

Other points included the development of a model state law relating to autonomous vehicle insurance that builds on the current state-based regulatory and oversight structure for auto insurance, as well as representation for the insurance industry in policymaking and stakeholder forums.

“The autonomous vehicle sector has seen significant advancements in recent years, but a uniform insurance framework, as outlined in our latest paper, is a critical component to the future of transportation,” said Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Travelers.

“Our risk management expertise and deep understanding of compensation systems will add significant value in creating the structure needed to widely adopt autonomous vehicles.”

Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President of Personal Insurance at Travelers, also commented: “The existing auto insurance structure, both personal and commercial, is designed to resolve claims and provide fair compensation to crash victims quickly and effectively.”

“As long as we adapt policies and regulations to address the evolving risks, auto insurance as we know it today can – and will – meet society’s needs in an increasingly autonomous world.”

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