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The Evolution in Self-Driving Vehicles

Although driverless cars will become mainstream in more than a decade, there are certain considerations that insurance executives should start thinking about now. We will continue to explore this evolving topic and suggest ways insurers can position themselves to take advantage of the enormous disruption that autonomous technology will cause to the business of risk. We will provide our perspectives on how the risks involved in transportation will be transformed, how financial responsibility will be assigned and how insurance products will need to be adapted – and how the key issues might be influenced by regulators and legislators.

In our view, insurers will face these five key challenges.

Challenge 1: What risks will remain – and will new ones arise?

A primary aim of autonomous technology is to reduce the number of traffic accidents, and the public’s and regulators’ expectations will be very high. We will examine what the residual risk of collisions could be and how the cost of injuries and repairs could change. We will offer our view on how new technologies will improve reporting of claims and change the potential for fraud.

At the same time, new risks will emerge, such as cyber attacks, software bugs and control failures. What will the exposure to systemic risks mean for insurability?

See also: Future of Self-Driving Cars (Infographic)

Challenge 2: Who is the customer, and how will we do business with that customer?

Who is liable for risk will be the key question, especially if a high proportion of remaining accidents will be attributable to failures in control software and systems. We will consider how original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and manufacturers could become liable for claims in the future, and whether they can shift the legal or financial burden to others in the supply chain. For example, could vehicle end users be required to purchase policies to indemnify OEMs, or will the cost of product liability insurance be passed to new vehicle purchasers? If transportation is consumed on a pay-per-use basis, could insurance be wrapped into the charge?

Whatever the outcome, the current insurer-consumer relationship – along with marketing, sales and distribution methods – will be fundamentally altered. Retaining control over this relationship will be essential if insurers are to avoid becoming redundant or marginalized by other players.

Challenge 3: How will the insurance product have to change?

Changes in liability and use will necessitate major revisions to the insurance products to meet the market’s needs. We will examine how autonomous products can be developed and configured to cover gray areas of liability and negligence resulting from the overlap between human and computer control. Would product tiers correspond to the “one-to-five” scale of the vehicle’s automation capability? Pay-per-use (versus “blanket” cover) could imply that short-term rather than annual renewable policies would become the norm – and lessons learned from current ride-sharing products could be employed. How will regulation affect or keep pace with the new products? Considerations for commercial lines might be significantly different when the rate of adoption is expected to increase the fastest and different technologies and enhanced safety overrides could be economical to deploy.

Challenge 4: How will we price it – and can it still be profitable?

The relative importance of different rating factors in pricing will change markedly. First, analysis of risk would depend primarily on the degree of self-driving versus manual control. For autonomous operation, pricing would be based on assessing the vehicle’s level of automation in terms of its technology, quality of implementation and anticipated types of driving. There are nuances between manufacturers even for relatively basic, standardized technologies, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB). For example, fuller automation capability may vary depending on the OEM, sensor quality and software used. How would data on the technical capability and usage statistics be collected? Could this be centralized in some way and retrieved transparently by insurers, rather than having to be disclosed?

The economics of the product will also be very different given a much reduced number of claims, and we will examine the speed of change, the resulting size of the market over time and the return on capital it might sustain compared with the present. Key questions will be to what extent this might be offset by increased overall demand for transportation, given the surge in accessibility of car transportation combined with the anticipated benefits to congestion. Could any alternative, discretionary coverages become more relevant?

Challenge 5: What influence will legislators have?

A large number of agencies are managing pilot programs, and their policies will have a major influence by encouraging or inhibiting adoption in each different country. We will give an overview of the current progress in each jurisdiction and highlight leading models that we foresee will become the templates for broader rollout.

Starting from an overview of the applicability of current insurance legislation to autonomous vehicle operation, we will review how legislation is likely to guide the cover and scope of autonomous insurance products in the future and the likely compulsory minimum cover requirements.

See also: Of Robots, Self-Driving Cars and Insurance  

Conclusion

As we have seen, autonomous vehicles will revolutionize mobility and inevitably automobile insurance. While we cannot predict the pace of these changes, we encourage insurers to prepare accordingly.

The lessons from other industries are stark. Companies content to wait and see, or worse – are oblivious to the threat until it is too late – could share the familiar fate of other household names that have been left behind by a wave of new technology.

In considering the next steps, insurers should analyze their business portfolios and strategies to understand their exposure to these changes. They should conduct what-if scenario analysis to model potential effect and evaluate what actions will be required to transform their organizations in parallel with various levels of car automation.

Early innovators are likely to generate substantial benefit for their businesses. To be successful in this space, insurers will need to aim for agile innovation and improve the way they use increasing volumes of data. They should also explore new collaborative models to shape a connected automotive ecosystem that will include insurers, auto manufacturers, technology companies and regulators.

You can find the full report from EY here.

EY’s Outlook for L&A, P&C in 2017

The coming year promises to be a year of continued disruption on several fronts for the insurance industry, including consumer demands, digital technology, cybersecurity and the shifting political landscape. The slow growth of the U.S. economy, coupled with market shifts, will also be prominent factors in 2017.

Insurers are looking at machine learning to make underwriting decisions. They are looking at all kinds of data, from medical to behavioral. They know they cannot take months to underwrite a policy. They need to do it in days – and, soon, even quicker.

This is an ideal time to make plans that take into account the future of the nature of work. Insurers now have the opportunity to introduce new technology, such as robotics, and more effective workforce management activities. By taking out repetitive tasks, they can produce an even more industrious and stimulating work environment for people.

See also: One Foot In Healthcare: Property And Casualty Payer Integration  

Below are the top strategic priorities from the 2017 EY U.S. life-annuity and property-casualty insurance outlooks.

Life-annuity strategic priorities

  1. Prepare for regulatory change. From rules on consumer protection and transparency, to financial solvency and cybersecurity – and now a potential shift in overall policy direction – the regulatory landscape for life insurers has never been more complex. Insurers should develop a strategy to comply with the new Department of Labor fiduciary rule, and be prepared to course-correct; as well as confirm that internal systems can keep up with regulatory change overall.
  2. Stay centered on the customer. The customer can be a valuable compass to companies mapping a strategy in changing times. Insurers should use this resource by applying analytics to gain deeper customer insights, creating a strong cross-channel customer experience and rethinking go-to-market approaches to meet changing investor needs.
  3. Re-evaluate strategies for a changing marketplace. With the industry in transition, and a new administration taking office, this is an ideal time for management teams to carefully asses their current market position and plan for where they would like to be, long-term. In addition to reassessing strategic positioning for the years ahead, insurers should also consider using M&A to improve competitive positioning and should also look to find the right insurtech strategy for the firm.
  4. Take digital transformation to the next level. 2017 will be a year of continued experimentation, and the focus of innovation will start to shift from reducing costs to reinventing products and business models. To do this, insurers should be prepared to enter the next phase of digital innovation by getting control of data across the enterprise and by using technology to improve current business approaches.
  5. Make cybersecurity a top strategic priority. Given the vast amount of personal and health data that resides in insurance firms, and their complex vendor relationships, building a robust data security system is both crucial and challenging. To do this, insurers should look to make cybersecurity a continuous business activity by drawing on technology and people to secure data.
  6. Close the talent gap. 2017 is the year to determine the critical workforce skills that insurers will need to drive the business forward. Insurers can build new talent management strategies by assessing whether the firm has the needed talent for the future and by creating clear pathways to transfer knowledge.

See also: 4 Mandates for Agents in Sharing Economy  

Property-casualty strategic priorities

  1. Focus on customer-driven innovation. To adapt to a fast-moving marketplace and differentiate themselves from competitors, insurers must stay laser-focused on the customer and adapt their go-to-market strategies. To do this, they can nurture a culture of innovation, which will help accelerate the development of new products and business models.
  2. Use technology to drive top- and bottom-line performance. In the face of shrinking returns, insurers will need to apply advanced analytics systematically across the value chain, as well as drive costs savings by drawing on robotics to automate insurance processes and build smart technology into future plans to remain competitive.
  3. Put cybersecurity high on the corporate agenda. As with life-annuity insurers, cybersecurity is also a key topic for property-casualty insurers. In 2017, cyber risks will increase exponentially as digital technology becomes more pervasive, and cyber-attackers more sophisticated. Insurers should prepare for the next stage of cyber-risk and implement an active defensive system to protect against attack.
  4. Rethink strategies to attract, develop and retain talent. With a large percentage of the workforce retiring in the years ahead, and digital transformation accelerating, 2017 will be a good time to take a hard look at future work needs. Insurers can start by understanding the millennial mindset and identifying the digital expertise they will need in the future.

Here are the complete reports:

2017 EY U.S. life-annuity insurance outlook

2017 EY U.S. property-casualty insurance outlook