Driverless Cars Will Fuel Surge in Product Liability Coverage

The rise of autonomous vehicles are creating quite a stir in today’s insurance environment. interviewed SDV’s Brendan Holt, who regularly advises clients on risk transfer involving emerging technologies, including autonomous and unmanned vehicles, to get his take on the subject…

Insurers are also waiting for concrete information on the potential risk exposures faced by the first wave of autonomous vehicles to roll in before they start underwriting policies for self-driving cars en masse, experts say. Unlike other emerging technologies such as drones, which are comparable to existing aircraft from a risk management standpoint, autonomous cars represent a whole new frontier for the insurance industry, according to attorneys.

While there is little data out there about losses experienced by drone operators, insurers can look at aviation risk models and forecast what types of exposures drones may face. But carriers can’t rely on any traditional risk models for road vehicles to try to predict the perils that self-driving cars will face, experts say.

“For autonomous vehicles, I don’t know if it would be that simple,” said Brendan C. Holt, an attorney at Saxe Doernberger & Vita PC. “With vehicle control being taken out of the hands of actual insured drivers, the liability structure might be very different, making it difficult for underwriters to assess the risk.”

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Aug 08, 2016

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