Insurers call for greater data sharing

Both the insurer and manufacturer must play a role in determining who was at fault when an accident happens.

Direct Line Group has called for more data sharing between manufacturers and insurers to determine blame in the event of a crash involving a driverless car.

With driverless cars on the rise, this is an issue of growing concern within the insurance industry. Data ownership will be critical in the next phase, with all sectors of the industry anxious to obtain as much information about the driver and the car as possible.

Dan Freedman, director of motor development at Direct Line Group, told delegated during a panel session at the All Party Parliament Group on Insurance and Financial Services that insurers would have a role to play in determining who was at fault.

He said, ‘As insurer’s we are going to have a role… to know whether it is the car or the individual driver who is at fault. In order to do that we are going to need to have either access to data of the vehicle to establish who was driving, a robot or an individual.

‘Or we are going to need to have relationships with the car manufacturers that allow us to either share the risk or collect that data.’

David Williams, technical director at AXA Insurance, added that despite a trend towards product liability – as voiced by Volvo and others – it was too simplistic for people to say the motor manufacturer would automatically assume liability.

He said, ‘We need to remember that we’ve got road traffic accident statuary for one reason and that’s to protect road users. At the very least as liability moves around [insurers] need to make sure that the public are afforded protection from the ‘right to manage’ insurance regardless of what particular product we attach them to.’

Meanwhile, cybercrime was again highlighted as a very real threat in the future, with both manufacturers and insurers still trying to determine the best way forward.

He also noted that the haulage industry was struggling because of demographic challenges with their drivers as they were now retiring.

He suggested that autonomous and connective vehicle technology could save the haulage industry £33bn over a ten year period.

The discussion also featured a presentation on the functions and features of an autonomous Volvo car, by Nikki Rooke, head of corporate communications at the manufacturer.