Self-driving automobiles and insurance coverage, with Ryan Stein

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


  • On this episode of the Accenture Insurance coverage Influencers Podcast, we converse with Ryan Stein from the Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada (IBC).
  • Presently, people account for 90 p.c of car accidents—an assumption that’s baked into auto insurance coverage insurance policies around the globe.
  • Our present auto insurance coverage insurance policies aren’t geared up to take care of self-driving automobiles. Notably, if the auto producer or know-how had been deemed answerable for an accident, injured events may find yourself negotiating product legal responsibility insurance coverage, which is extra advanced than auto insurance coverage.
  • Auto insurance coverage insurance policies had been challenged by the sharing economic system, and insurers can study from that have to proactively redefine auto insurance coverage for the arrival of self-driving automobiles.

Introducing the Accenture Insurance coverage Influencers podcast

Insurance coverage hasn’t modified a lot in 200 years, however all the pieces round it has. The bottom beneath insurers’ toes 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 tackle among the huge questions on insurers’ minds. How will synthetic intelligence (AI) change insurance coverage? How can insurers innovate extra successfully? And the way can know-how allow fraud detection?

What self-driving automobiles 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 automobiles and why they don’t match into immediately’s auto insurance coverage legal guidelines. Subsequent, Ryan mentioned an IBC working paper that outlines a two-part framework for a way insurers, governments and regulators can replace insurance coverage legal guidelines to accommodate self-driving automobiles. And eventually, we checked out basic ideas 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 function inside the insurance coverage business 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 autos and what meaning for the insurance coverage business. I need to begin with what folks imply once they speak about autonomous autos. I perceive that there are literally 5 designated ranges. Might you fill in our listeners who aren’t aware of them already?

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

  • Stage zero isn’t any automation. The driving force is in full management of the automobile always.
  • Stage one has some driver help, like velocity or cruise management.
  • Stage two can take management of each the automobile velocity and lane place in some conditions—as an example, on a freeway.
  • Stage three is restricted self-driving, so the automobile could be in full management in some conditions. It may well monitor the highway and site visitors and may also inform the driving force when she or he should take management of the automobile.
  • Stage 4 is absolutely self-driving below sure situations. It may very well be a sure space, sure climate situations or sure roads the place the automobile can deal with all of the driving features.
  • Stage 5 is full self-driving. The automobile can do just about all the pieces with out the human needing to take management.

IBC just lately revealed a paper on what you check with as automated autos. I’ve additionally heard the business check with autonomous autos. Are these primarily the identical factor?

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

That brings us to the insurance coverage business and among the assumptions inside the insurance coverage business that automated autos 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 explanation for 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 answerable for over 90 p.c of collisions. So it is sensible 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 economic system, ride-sharing and car-sharing. How had been these a problem to the non-public auto business?

Previous to the sharing economic system, the insurance coverage legal guidelines had been written in a really particular approach. Principally:

  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 possibly can purchase non-compulsory merchandise if you happen to had been utilizing your automobile for industrial functions generally.

After which the sharing economic system and ride-sharing companies got here, and it began blurring the strains between private and industrial. Folks had been utilizing their automobile for ride-sharing functions. The ride-sharing corporations wished to have the ability to supply a second coverage to these autos 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 need 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 supplied by a special entity—the ride-sharing firm, not the person automobile proprietor—you wanted legislative and regulatory adjustments.

And now, since you had been going to have two insurance policies on a automobile, you wanted guidelines or processes to handle claims. If a collision occurred with a kind of autos, it wanted to be straightforward to determine which insurance coverage firm pays. Was the app on or off? After figuring out that, you possibly can 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 special sort of car use in a special sort of enterprise mannequin.

Proper. And it strikes me that there are a number of similarities to what we’re now with automated autos. Quite a lot of the dialog has been concerning the shift from a private auto coverage to one in all product legal responsibility. Particularly, if there’s an accident, and it was a automobile 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 answerable for greater than 90 p.c of collisions and all of the auto insurance coverage legal guidelines and protection relies on that. So proper now, if there’s a collision, folks 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 answerable for the collision, they’ve a possibility to pursue a legal responsibility declare or sue the particular person accountable. With motorcar claims, there are tens of hundreds 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 brought about the collision—if it was the know-how at fault—properly, then you definately’re exterior auto insurance coverage litigation. Now you’re product legal responsibility litigation in opposition to the automobile producer or know-how supplier. That’s much more advanced and takes loads longer than your typical motorcar collision legal responsibility claims.

When you have folks which can be 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 should go up in opposition to a automobile producer know-how supplier. It’s not a motorcar legal responsibility declare, which implies that particular person may now be ready loads 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 be sure that people who find themselves injured have entry to truthful and fast compensation. We see automated autos difficult the auto insurance coverage legal guidelines which were in place for many years, and we expect there’s a have to replace them. They need to mirror the dangers related to automated autos, so that you don’t have folks injured having to proceed by way of expensive, protracted product legal responsibility litigation.

That’s a fantastic level, Ryan. Thanks for making the time to talk with me immediately.

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 legislation, and the way they had been challenged by the sharing economic system
  • Why immediately’s insurance coverage business isn’t ready for automated automobiles, and why that ought to concern shoppers

For extra steering on self-driving automobiles:

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

What to do subsequent:

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

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