Driverless cars concern for LKQ
Three US insurers have noted driverless vehicles as a possible financial threat, whilst LKQ fears a decline in ‘the number and severity of accidents’, according to The Guardian.
Three insurance companies as well as parts manufacturer, LKQ, mentioned driverless cars in their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Under the ‘risk factors’ headings of their filings, the three US companies – Cincinnati Financial, Mercury General and the Travelers Companies – noted that vehicle autonomy could affect business, and not for the better. The companies sounded an ominous note – for themselves, at least – saying that driverless cars could change the way they do business.
Cincinnati, for example, predicted ‘disruption of the insurance market caused by technology innovations such as driverless cars that could decrease consumer demand for insurance products’.
It’s not just insurers who are worried about fewer collisions. LKQ has warned in its regulatory filings that with improved technology, ‘the number and severity of accidents could decrease, which could have a material adverse effect on our business’.
But automotive and insurance industry experts say it’s too early to for drivers to celebrate – and for the insurance industry to start worrying. While Google, Uber and Detroit’s car giants are all working on self-driving vehicles, the rise of the robots is still a long way off.
‘It takes a long time for new safety features to penetrate the fleet that’s on the road because people hang on to their vehicles for a long time,’ Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said. ‘Even when a feature is mandated by federal regulations, it takes 3o years for it to penetrate 95% of the vehicles on the road.’