How autonomous driving will impact your car insurance

Kettering
52° 23' 55.752" N, -0° 43' 32.988" E
22nd Mar 2016
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HERE recently teamed up with reinsurance giant Swiss Re to produce a white paper that looks at how connected cars and autonomous cars will affect motor insurance.

The research shows that one of the biggest issues on the road is driver inattentiveness, so new technologies like driver assistance systems can help focus driver attention and avoid unnecessary mistakes that may well lead to accidents. 

SwissAccident

The technology in cars helps drivers make better judgement calls. For instance, when driving on the highway and wanting to change lanes, assistance systems can help you better judge whether it’s safe.

New cars are being fitted with a growing number of sensors, which transmit real-time hazard information to ever more sophisticated car computers that help drivers make better decisions faster than they would themselves. An extra second could be the difference between having an accident and avoiding it.

Safer driving could lead to lower motor insurance premiums in the long run. But although motor risks are set to decrease as the number of automated vehicles grows overall, we spoke with Andrea Keller at Swiss Re, who believes that global motor insurance premium volume will continue to increase over the next ten to twenty years due to growth of motor insurance in emerging markets. This growth will offset the motor insurance premium decrease from safer driving technologies.

Swissrepen

That said, in developed markets, Andrea expects the average motor insurance premium to drop after 2025 and for motor insurance coverage to gradually shift from third party liability towards product liability as driving decisions are increasingly made by the hardware and software in our cars. Of course some motor covers – like own damage, weather damage or theft – will remain.

While fully autonomous cars may be a long way away for most people, connected cars are here already, and they’re already helping driver safety and efficiency, by offering real-time information straight to your car that can help you reduce the time you spend driving and avoid accidents.

That data can go both ways, enabling insurers to know a lot more about the way their policy holders drive their cars. “With traditional insurance when you underwrite a risk and when you assess a driver, there are a few factors that will have an impact on the price you’ll pay. That could be whether you’re female or male, young or old, what car you drive or how often you drive it,” explains Andrea.

“Now, the technology in cars is creating a vast amount of rich data that can be mined to better understand user driving, which allows insurers to price the risk precisely so the end consumer only has to pay for their actual risk. A reckless driver will have to pay more than somebody who only drives very carefully, and that can be proven with real-time risk assessment, so it’s a much fairer system.”

 Swissforecast

Technology could also make things a lot better if you actually do have an accident. We spoke with Bernd Fastenrath at HERE, who points out: “If there is an accident, user location data can be used to provide information to the emergency services instantly after a crash. The data can also help to get the claims process started much sooner in smaller accidents, before the customer has waited for any reports or for paperwork to come through.”

The partnership between HERE and Swiss Re makes a lot of sense. Swiss Re brings over 150 years’ re/insurance expertise, while HERE is the undisputed industry expert in the location technology and mapping space. “If you put these two fields of expertise together you get an extraordinarily insightful partnership,” concludes Bernd.