The future is now for autonomous vehicles

As we head into 2018, we’re all trying to figure out what the insurance industry can expect from innovation.


As we head into 2018, we’re all trying to figure out what the insurance industry can expect from innovation, and whether this will be the year the industry will embrace transformation. Several of the six articles linked to below will provoke some thoughts, and you’ll see plenty more outlook pieces over the next couple of weeks at the ITL website.

To get the juices flowing, here is a bold prediction from our own Guy Fraker, ITL’s Chief Innovation Officer, as well as a way for you to hear more from him.

First, the prediction. Guy wrote to me:

“Hardly a day goes by without someone publishing an article about why autonomous vehicles (AVs) won’t see deployment until 2025. In fact, 2018 will be the year that scaled deployment begins.

“One reason many people expect a slower rollout is because it takes some 15 years for the whole fleet of cars to turn over, but at least nine capable companies are racing to produce an aftermarket kit that can retrofit existing cars. AutonomouStuff has provided hardware, software and engineering assistance to more than 2,700 organizations that are already operating fleets of cars, trucks and semis that all began as stock vehicles but that are now running autonomously on public roadways. At ITL’s Innovator’s Edge, we are tracking 222 startups dedicated to autonomous vehicles that have received $6.2 billion in funding in just the past 24 months.

“So much for fleet turnover setting the pace. 

“Insurance is playing its part. Munich Re said way back in 2015 that AVs would be a primary growth market. Google’s AV program, Waymo, recently announced an alliance with Trov (after an introduction by ITL) to provide insurance for Waymo’s driverless fleet in Phoenix.

“I, personally, have worked with regulators on the AV issue, including spending two days with Google and 38 state insurance commissioners in 2017. Most states, led by Florida, are inclined to limit regulatory requirements.

“So they won’t stand in the way of innovation, either.”

Now, the way to hear more.

The first major conference of the year—one that features a wealth of insurance industry leadership onstage and in the audience—is the annual Joint Industry Forum, held at the Marriott Marquis in New York City on Jan. 16, and Guy will be speaking there. The event, organized by the Insurance Information Institute, features a panel on the digital technology revolution that includes Guy and two of our good friends: Pete Miller, President and CEO of The Institutes, and Donna Peeples, Chief Customer Officer of Pypestream. The conversation will be led by James Dodge, Practice Leader of Milliman Advanced Analytics. 

The panel will look at how technology can be integrated into supply chains and will tackle Guy’s two threshold questions for insurance executives: 

  1. Are you accepting that transformative change is underway?
  2. Do you have the will to embrace this period as opportunity more than threat? 

The JIF will feature several other panels, including the perennial CEO panel, which will be especially worth hearing for their views of the future. To learn more about the agenda, and register to attend while there is still time, go to JIF Registration


Paul Carroll,
Editor in Chief

Paul Carroll

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Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is the editor-in-chief of Insurance Thought Leadership.

He is also co-author of A Brief History of a Perfect Future: Inventing the Future We Can Proudly Leave Our Kids by 2050 and Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years and the author of a best-seller on IBM, published in 1993.

Carroll spent 17 years at the Wall Street Journal as an editor and reporter; he was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. He later was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.


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