‘This is an amazing opportunity for the insurance industry,’ explained autonomous expert

Insurers and brokers must seize the opportunities that the rapidly approaching move towards autonomous transport will deliver.

This was according to Sam Tiltman, sharing economy and mobility leader for the UK and Ireland at broker Marsh.

Speaking at a packed meeting on the future of autonomous vehicles at Lloyd’s of London – held last week (28 February 2022) – Tiltman added that the industry had to act quickly to secure these opportunities.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the insurance industry,” he explained.

“It also prompts a discussion around the relevance of the industry – if we do not support the shift to autonomous transport we will lose out.”

Paul Newman, founder and chief technology officer of autonomous vehicle software developer Oxbotica, said that the insurance market was key to the development of autonomous transportation, adding that he expected autonomous vehicles would arrive on the roads within the next decade.

Current estimates show that motor insurance represents 30-35% of global gross written premiums, said Newman.

“The transport and automotive industry is like to be significantly disrupted in the next 10-15 years,” he explained.

“We are an industry which deals in risk and we need to take risks. We are in the pole position to be a disruptor with our clients.”

Call to action

Newman added that while the insurance industry was successfully engaged with stakeholders across the autonomous vehicle sector, the challenge would be changing the attitudes of brokers and insurers.

He said: “So much effort and investment has been made by the industry on climate change and the move to net zero, which is targeted for 2050,” he added.

“At present we still have no idea what the impact will be, or the risks we will be asked to mitigate in 2050.

“However, we know that – in a decade – autonomous vehicles will be a reality. This is in many ways a call to action.”

Tiltman added: “We need to work with the clients and the public to ensure we understand and accept the fundamental change which will arrive in the way we use transport.

He added that the technology for autonomous vehicles was already in place, but that the insurance sector’s challenge would be a leap in progress required to comprehend regulations and rules that would allow autonomous vehicles to operate on roads.

“We need to work with all stakeholders to create a reliable and affordable cover for autonomous vehicles,” he explained.

“The issues around liability are being addressed. We have and continue to work to identify the challenges we face with liability and to create products which reflect the risks that will be faced.

“The most exciting part of the whole journey is that the disruption caused by the arrival of autonomous vehicles will undoubtedly create far wider changes and with them more opportunity for insurers.”

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