The US auto insurance industry alone is quite important, as it generates $220 billion in annual revenue and creates 277,000 jobs. With the continued advancements in automotive technologies that make autonomous vehicles so appealing to a population constantly looking for the next best thing, the global auto industry is likely to be affected.
As insurance companies scramble to try and create policies designed to fill this new need, many issues arise surrounding the ethics of who is to blame, how fair it is to charge premiums, when the outcome is most certainly known, what kind of policies different types of vehicles will need to have, and many more.
What’s Currently Going on in the Autonomous Vehicle Industry?
In July of 2018, the Travelers Institute released a white paper presenting their assessment of the existing auto insurance structure, both personal and commercial, in regards to the ability to resolve claims and provide fair compensation to accident victims as vehicles become more autonomous. This study comes on the heels of recent negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement UPS and the Teamsters union over the future of autonomous logistics.
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What these two have in common are the struggles industries will have to face as automobiles, both commercial and personal, become automated. While the future of logistics deals more so with the inevitable decline in workers needed to fill jobs, the issue of insurance still remains at the forefront of the discussion due to the difference in claims and policies needed for commercial versus personal vehicles.
The Necessity of Insurance for Commercial Vehicles (Autonomous or Not)
Businesses will also be required to take out specific auto insurance policies on vehicles used for commercial use. With a self-driving commercial vehicle, this has the potential to create an entirely different type of conversation, as they will likely be required to factor in the demand on safety for their employees. Due to the fact that social use in the current auto insurance industry is defined more strictly in van insurance than car insurance, the big question becomes, then, just how will this type of policy transition over to in an autonomous auto insurance market.
How Autonomous Vehicles Disrupt the Industry
As autonomous driving continues to disrupt the auto industry and other related fields, agreements and improvements will have to be made to protect employees such as truck drivers. And, while the insurance industry will certainly be disrupted, there will still be jobs to fill as new policies will have to be instated that allow companies to decide where to place liability and legal blame, creating a need for more ethics lawyers to take part in the conversation.
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