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Self-driving vehicles and insurance coverage, with Ryan Stein

What are the assumptions baked into our auto insurance coverage insurance policies, and the way do self-driving vehicles problem them? Ryan Stein from Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada (IBC) appears to be like on the implications that self-driving vehicles have on in the present day’s auto insurance coverage legal guidelines.


  • On this episode of the Accenture Insurance coverage Influencers Podcast, we communicate with Ryan Stein from the Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada (IBC).
  • Presently, people account for 90 % of auto accidents—an assumption that’s baked into auto insurance coverage insurance policies all over the world.
  • Our present auto insurance coverage insurance policies aren’t geared up to cope with self-driving vehicles. Notably, if the auto producer or expertise have been deemed liable for an accident, injured events might find yourself negotiating product legal responsibility insurance coverage, which is extra advanced than auto insurance coverage.
  • Auto insurance coverage insurance policies have been challenged by the sharing financial system, and insurers can study from that have to proactively redefine auto insurance coverage for the arrival of self-driving vehicles.

Introducing the Accenture Insurance coverage Influencers podcast

Insurance coverage hasn’t modified a lot in 200 years, however all the things round it has. The bottom beneath insurers’ ft is shifting daily, posing challenges—and creating alternatives.

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Insurance coverage Influencers podcast from Accenture. In season one, we handle among the large questions on insurers’ minds. How will synthetic intelligence (AI) change insurance coverage? How can insurers innovate extra successfully? And the way can expertise allow fraud detection?

What self-driving vehicles imply for insurance coverage, with Ryan Stein

Our first visitor is Ryan Stein, the chief director of auto insurance coverage coverage and innovation at Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada (IBC). First, we talked to Ryan about self-driving vehicles and why they don’t match into in the present day’s auto insurance coverage legal guidelines. Subsequent, Ryan mentioned an IBC working paper that outlines a two-part framework for the way insurers, governments and regulators can replace insurance coverage legal guidelines to accommodate self-driving vehicles. And at last, we checked out basic rules for ensuring that insurance coverage legal guidelines are geared up to maintain up with rising applied sciences.

The next transcript has been edited for size and readability.

Inform me about Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada (IBC). What’s its position inside the insurance coverage trade in Canada?

IBC is the nationwide commerce affiliation for Canada’s property and casualty insurance coverage corporations. We work with our members to look at the political and regulatory atmosphere, and see if there are methods of bettering it for the good thing about insurance coverage prospects throughout the nation.

I’m trying ahead to asking you about autonomous automobiles and what meaning for the insurance coverage trade. I wish to begin with what individuals imply after they speak about autonomous automobiles. I perceive that there are literally 5 designated ranges. May you fill in our listeners who aren’t acquainted with them already?

The 5 ranges of auto autonomy—you’ll be able to really say that there are six, as a result of there’s stage zero—come from the Society of Automotive Engineers.

  • Stage zero is not any automation. The motive force is in full management of the automobile always.
  • Stage one has some driver help, like pace or cruise management.
  • Stage two can take management of each the automobile pace and lane place in some conditions—as an illustration, on a freeway.
  • Stage three is restricted self-driving, so the automobile may be in full management in some conditions. It might monitor the street and site visitors and may also inform the driving force when she or he should take management of the automobile.
  • Stage 4 is totally self-driving underneath sure circumstances. It could possibly be a sure space, sure climate circumstances or sure roads the place the automobile can deal with all of the driving capabilities.
  • Stage 5 is full self-driving. The automobile can do just about all the things with out the human needing to take management.

IBC not too long ago printed a paper on what you discuss with as automated automobiles. I’ve additionally heard the trade discuss with autonomous automobiles. Are these basically the identical factor?

Sure and no. Autonomous just about implies that the automotive drives itself. I like to make use of the phrase “automated” as a result of you’ll be able to speak about automobiles that also require people to play some management within the driving operation. They’ve automated capabilities, however they may not be totally autonomous.

That brings us to the insurance coverage trade and among the assumptions inside the insurance coverage trade that automated automobiles might not match into. What are a few of these underlying assumptions that we’ve constructed into our present fashions of auto insurance coverage?

The principle assumption is that human error is the first reason behind collisions. The tort legal guidelines, legal responsibility legal guidelines and the legal responsibility protection that folks purchase is all based mostly on this notion that people trigger collisions. And that’s as a result of proper now, people are liable for over 90 % of collisions. So it is smart that auto insurance coverage legal guidelines—and the protection that comes from them—will all be based mostly on that.

These assumptions about auto insurance coverage have been in place for some time and up to date improvements have challenged them. So, for instance, the sharing financial system, ride-sharing and car-sharing. How have been these a problem to the private auto trade?

Previous to the sharing financial system, the insurance coverage legal guidelines have been written in a really particular method. Mainly:

  1. An individual owned a automobile.
  2. That automobile was predominantly used for private or industrial functions.
  3. The proprietor of that automobile was the one who purchased the protection.

Every automobile just about had one coverage on it, and that coverage could be private or industrial—though you might purchase elective merchandise should you have been utilizing your automobile for industrial functions typically.

After which the sharing financial system and ride-sharing companies got here, and it began blurring the strains between private and industrial. Folks have been utilizing their automobile for ride-sharing functions. The ride-sharing corporations needed to have the ability to supply a second coverage to these automobiles to cowl the ride-sharing, for when the ride-sharing app is on till the ride-sharing app is off. However those that signed up for ride-sharing companies didn’t actually wish to exit and purchase a separate coverage, or perhaps their insurance coverage firm that bought their private coverage didn’t supply this ride-sharing coverage. So for that second coverage to be offered by a distinct entity—the ride-sharing firm, not the person automobile proprietor—you wanted legislative and regulatory adjustments.

And now, since you have been going to have two insurance policies on a automobile, you wanted guidelines or processes to handle claims. If a collision occurred with a type of automobiles, it wanted to be straightforward to determine which insurance coverage firm pays. Was the app on or off? After figuring out that, you might transfer ahead with the claims course of. So it was an instance of insurance coverage legal guidelines needing to be up to date—to accommodate a distinct sort of auto use in a distinct sort of enterprise mannequin.

Proper. And it strikes me that there are a number of similarities to what we’re taking a look at now with automated automobiles. Quite a lot of the dialog has been concerning the shift from a private auto coverage to certainly one of product legal responsibility. Specifically, if there may be an accident, and it was a automotive that may drive itself, was it the driving force or was it the producer? Are you able to speak about among the different implications for insurance coverage?

Proper now, people are liable for greater than 90 % of collisions and all of the auto insurance coverage legal guidelines and protection relies on that. So proper now, if there’s a collision, individuals go to their very own insurance coverage firm they usually get sure advantages, and in the event that they want extra they usually weren’t liable for the collision, they’ve a chance to pursue a legal responsibility declare or sue the particular person accountable. With motorized vehicle claims, there are tens of 1000’s of them a yr, and you determine, OK, what the trigger and was who at fault? From that, right here’s how a lot will get paid out for the declare.

However in a world the place it wasn’t the individual that precipitated the collision—if it was the expertise at fault—nicely, then you definitely’re outdoors auto insurance coverage litigation. Now you’re taking a look at product legal responsibility litigation towards the automobile producer or expertise supplier. That’s much more advanced and takes lots longer than your typical motorized vehicle collision legal responsibility claims.

If in case you have individuals which are injured in a collision that was brought on by automated automobile, they’ll get some protection from their very own insurer, but when they want extra they’re going to must go up towards a automobile producer expertise supplier. It’s now not a motorized vehicle legal responsibility declare, which implies that particular person might now be ready lots longer to get compensated.

And from a public coverage perspective: auto insurance coverage is closely regulated, and at IBC we consider the legal guidelines that underpin it ought to make it possible for people who find themselves injured have entry to honest and fast compensation. We see automated automobiles difficult the auto insurance coverage legal guidelines which have been in place for many years, and we expect there’s a must replace them. They need to replicate the dangers related to automated automobiles, so that you don’t have individuals injured having to proceed by means of pricey, protracted product legal responsibility litigation.

That’s an incredible level, Ryan. Thanks for making the time to talk with me in the present day.

It was my pleasure.


On this episode of the Accenture Insurance coverage Influencers podcast, we talked about:

  • Six ranges of driving automation, as outlined by the Society of Automotive Engineers
  • The underlying assumptions baked into auto insurance coverage insurance policies and regulation, and the way they have been challenged by the sharing financial system
  • Why in the present day’s insurance coverage trade isn’t ready for automated vehicles, and why that ought to concern customers

For extra steering on self-driving vehicles:

Within the subsequent episode, Ryan will share a two-part framework that IBC developed for automated automobiles and the way it addresses the potential for injured events having to barter product legal responsibility insurance coverage. And, we’ll discuss concerning the challenges and alternatives that self-driving vehicles pose for insurers.

What to do subsequent:

Contact us should you’d prefer to be a visitor on the Insurance coverage Influencers podcast.



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