The arrival of the autonomous vehicle represents one of the major concerns for those involved in property and casualty insurance. The first models should be marketed in 2025 and would represent nearly 30% of world production in 2035. The advantages of these vehicles are not the least. According to a study by Exton Consulting, the number of claims should be halved by 2030. Indeed, nearly 90% of current accidents are caused by human error. This reduction in the number of claims should generate savings of nearly 4 billion euros for the State. On the other hand, serious accidents would cost more. On the one hand, compensation and medical care for bodily victims would become more and more expensive. On the other hand,
Thus, the automobile insurance market, which today represents a little more than 20 billion euros, has to deploy a lot of thought in order to adapt its offer to autonomous vehicles and not miss this turning point. major of its evolution.
Historically, auto insurance is indeed a liability insurance contract. With the autonomous vehicle, the driver becomes a passive actor, insurers are then faced with the following problem: Who is responsible in the event of an accident?
Between manufacturers, equipment suppliers, platform operators, or even communities and administrations responsible for land use planning, nothing has yet been decided but the market is leaning towards a commitment from the manufacturer.
As such, Google recognized, in 2016, its responsibility in an accident caused by its autonomous vehicle "Google Car". The manufacturer Volvo, for its part, also undertakes to assume responsibility for any damage caused by its self-driving cars.
In this context, the regulatory framework governing civil liability should be reviewed. Today, insurance regulations indicate that the only person responsible in the event of an accident is the driver. In March 2016, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe introduced the obligation for manufacturers of autonomous vehicles to provide a tamper-proof black box, like the one used in airplanes. Thus, insurers like Allianz or Direct Assurance who already provide a mini box that transmits driving information to a smartphone should have a head start in controlling the data of an autonomous car.
Since September 15, 2017, the government has been looking into the issues of self-driving car insurance and plans to develop a strategy by the end of the year. Its approach based on experience (“learning by doing”) aims, in particular, to develop a more precise regulatory framework in order to clarify the issue of civil liability. This strategic plan will also have to deal with the issues of road safety and cybersecurity, the impacts on mobility, the environment, and the acceptability of autonomous vehicles, the assessment of the impacts, the risks, and the importance of the European cooperation.
With the very concept of ownership being modified, the insurance tends to become a product attached to the vehicle and not to its owner while being individualized with the specificities of its driver. Indeed, the automotive sector also provides for the development of car-sharing (multiple owners). Insurers will therefore have to adapt their distribution channels but also the nature and duration of contracts.
Great Britain, offers the track of two-in-one insurance for self-driving cars. A contract that protects the driver both if the accident occurs while driving and when the car is moving automatically. This double contract could lighten the procedures but would a priori cost the policyholders more. Nothing has yet been finalized but a matter to follow closely!
Insurers will have to integrate new risks such as cyberterrorism and remote hacking of the on-board computers of autonomous vehicles.
In this context, Allianz is launching in 2016 an automobile insurance offer specific to autonomous vehicles, backed by enhanced theft coverage, personalized assistance, and more extensive legal protection. This new offer, the premium of which is reduced by 25%, provides for:
- Cover the risks of cybercrime: in particular attempted theft following a hack into the vehicle's computer system;
- Provide better legal assistance in the event of data theft or vehicle system failure;
- Cover any disputes that the insured may have with the car manufacturer.
Today, only 3,000 contracts have been taken out, i.e. 8% of semi-autonomous vehicles in circulation (vehicles incorporating driver assistance technologies).
According to insurer XL Catlin, automobile insurance will eventually have to transform by moving from a B2C model to a B2B model. It will no longer be a question of insuring individuals but software development companies and manufacturers against cyber attacks. This goes hand in hand with the development of car-sharing, carpooling, or the multiplication of owners for one and the same vehicle. This prospect should completely shake up the model of auto insurers who mainly sell contracts to the driver directly.
The mutual insurance company, Matmut, joined the “ Rouen Normandy Autonomous Lab ” project alongside industrial partners Transdev (a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts and Veolia), and the Renault group. This first full-scale test in Europe was presented on October 2, 2017, in Rouen. This project, the cost of which is estimated at 11M €, aims to provide residents with 5 100% autonomous vehicles from spring 2018 for a period of 2 years.
For Olivier Requin, Group Director within the DGA production of Matmut, this project makes it possible to go beyond the stage of reflection by constituting a real field of observation to study the behavior of autonomous vehicles. Several cases will have to be studied in terms of claims: frontal collision with two wheels, rear impact, etc. This experience should provide food for thought in order to propose solutions in terms of insurance offers for autonomous vehicles.
The autonomous car will undoubtedly transform the daily life of insurers, manufacturers, but also equipment manufacturers in the next ten or twenty years. The reduction in the number of accidents will necessarily lower insurance rates as well as the number of premiums collected by insurers. The experimental project is therefore essential in order to allow auto insurance to rethink itself… and not to disappear!
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