New legislation prepares the road ahead
The UK sets off down the road to its autonomous driving future in 2018 with the enactment of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill. This Bill is a suitable attempt at mirroring the present insurance position, which will help kick-start this emerging technology. However, this is very much the first piece in the puzzle so expect further regulation as the technology develops. This may make the road for insurers a little bumpy.
While the Bill retains quick-and-easy access to compensation for claimants, insurers need an equally efficient system of recovery from manufacturers if the system is to function. We expect insurers and manufacturers to agree a recovery process as soon as possible.
As data will be key to understanding the risks inherent in these vehicles from both an underwriting and claims perspective, further regulation concerning what data should be provided to insurers both prior to and following an accident is likely. Utilising the MIB as a third party clearing house for data could be a useful development that may satisfy stakeholders.
Driver education will be vital in the next 12 months as vehicles take to the roads with advanced driver assistance systems that automate partial driving function without being fully autonomous. Should drivers place too much reliance on non-autonomous vehicles we can expect to see increases in crash frequency. The costs of repairs are also predicted to rise due to increased use of this expensive technology.