With new technologies come new problems – particularly as it relates to insurance. It’s no surprise then that the issue of driverless cars is causing quite a stir.
Now the insurance industry is demanding clarity – and specifically the right to claim damages from driverless car makers.
After a consultation on the subject, Ben Howarth of the Association of British Insurers spoke to The Financial Times
about the different viewpoints.
“The government proposes that you buy a conventional policy and a bolt-on for product liability,” he told the publication. “But existing product liability cover would not really cover driverless cars and there would be too many instances where the manufacturer could deny liability.
“We prefer a single policy so that anyone making a claim would have a single place to go. The less complexity there is for the road user, the better.”
Under the ABI’s proposals, anyone who has an accident with a driverless car would be able to claim just as they would if they had an accident with a conventional vehicle.
When that claim is paid, an insurer would pursue the companies involved – such as the manufacturer or the software supplier. This, however, relies on a change to the existing legislation. For now it appears the industry is split about how to approach the issue.
Overall, however, it is hoped that driverless cars will be a positive for consumers – but they may not necessarily be a plus for the insurance industry. Autonomous Research suggests that they have the potential to push car insurance premiums in the UK down by as much as 63% by 2060 – but that profits could drop by 81%.
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