It has been welcomed by the industry
The Department of Transport launched its ‘Future of mobility: Urban Strategy’ report yesterday.
The document outlines the government’s approach for maximising the benefits from transport innovation in cities and towns.
It sets out the principles that will guide government’s response to emerging transport technologies and business models.
But Kurt Rowe associate and lead at Weightmans Motor Technology Group told Insurance Times that the government has somewhat overlooked the insurance framework for the uptake of electric modes of transport.
He cited the main problem that there is no compulsory insurance in place for electric bikes and scooters
He also questioned how injury will be compensated in the event of an accident involving these.
It follows the government’s plans to phase out fossil fuel vehicles in the UK by 2040 in a bid to reduce air and noise pollution.
It follows the Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Bill 2018 becoming a law last year, which covers insurance liability, allowing autonomous and electric vehicles to be insured alongside conventional vehicles.
While welcoming the publication of the report, Rowe said: “The government doesn’t appear, as yet, to be thinking about a framework for what happens in the event of an accident or collision involving electric cycles and scooters which at the moment don’t require compulsory insurance.”
He explained that a strategy like this that also encourages uptake pays little attention to addressing where liability sits or how injury will be compensated.
Rowe cited this an “ongoing problem” for the general public and insurers.
He explained that the government has had a policy to encourage people onto bikes to tackle obesity.
With the government now pushing electric bikes and vehicles which are more about sustainable transport than health benefits, Rowe questioned what would happen in the event of one being the cause of an accident.
“Amongst other issues, the review rightly recognises the potential of technology to make all our lives easier when it comes to getting around. The focus on increasing uptake of sustainable options like electric cycles and scooters is especially laudable, he added.
He said the more electric vehicles on the road the more likelihood there is of an accident.
Rowe warned of the speed that electric bikes and scooters can go at flagging his concern about the possibility of a surge in personal injury claims.
David Williams, managing director of underwriting and technical services at AXA Insurance, said: “We believe that in the context of driverless vehicles these potential benefits include a reduction in road traffic accidents, better accessibility for those currently unable to drive and a boost for the UK economy.”
AXA said it was in favour the Government’s acknowledgement of the need for increased data-sharing to unlock the benefits of new innovative transport technologies.
While the ABI said that the ongoing transformation of mobility-related technologies presents “enormous opportunities.”
A spokesperson for the ABI, said: “From telematics policies, pay-as-you-drive insurance, to supporting the development of autonomous vehicle technology, insurers continue to adapt and innovate to reflect our rapidly changing driving environment.”
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