The Executive Vice President and President of Personal Insurance at American insurer Travelers, Michael Klein, has highlighted the important role the insurance industry must play in the development of policies surrounding autonomous vehicles.
“With the increasing adoption of semi-autonomous vehicles and the potential for fully autonomous vehicles, several policy-related questions and challenges are beginning to emerge,” stated Klein.
“It’s important that the insurance industry play a central role in policymaking discussions to develop a uniform legal and regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles. Ensuring that a clear risk transfer mechanism is in place will help facilitate the development of autonomous vehicles and the improved safety we expect they will bring to our roads.”
The statement follows the release of a white paper by The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, titled “Insuring Autonomy: How auto insurance can adapt to changing risks,” at the 2018 Automated Vehicles Symposium.
The paper contained Travelers’ assessment of the current personal and commercial auto insurance structure and how that is likely to translate over into a more automated landscape, in terms of resolving claims and providing fair compensation to accident victims.
While research suggests fewer accidents are to be expected as such technologies are adopted, it’s expected that collisions that do occur will likely result in higher repair costs and lead to more complex questions over liability, victim compensation and data collection.
Travelers point to the implementation to a model state law relating to autonomous vehicle insurance – that builds on the current state-based regulatory and oversight structure – as a potential way forward.
Additionally, it believes government should establish strong cybersecurity requirements for autonomous vehicles, including appropriate data-sharing protocols, and require vehicle owners – including personal, ride-sharing and company-owned vehicles – to purchase and maintain adequate insurance.
Klein concluded, “Travelers has been a longtime leader and innovator in both personal and commercial auto insurance and would support the creation of a coalition of non-government stakeholders to make recommendations on insurance-related autonomous vehicle issues.”