10 February 2017Insurance

UK proposes ‘two-in-one’ insurance products to address driverless car liability

The UK Government’s Department for Transport has proposed legislation that aims to end the confusion as to who the blame falls with if an autonomous vehicle is involved in an accident.

The legislation will extend compulsory motor insurance to cover product liability to give motorists cover when they have handed full control over to an autonomous vehicle.

"Automated vehicles have the potential to transform our roads in the future and make them even safer and easier to use, as well as promising new mobility for those who cannot drive,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

“But we must ensure the public is protected in the event of an incident and this week we are introducing the framework to allow insurance for these new technologies."

The UK government has proposed to supplement the compulsory motor insurance (Part VI of the Road Traffic Act 1988) to include the use of autonomous vehicles, and establish a single insurer model, where an insurer covers both the driver’s use of the vehicle and the autonomous vehicle technology.

In contrast to advance driver assistance systems, where a driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle at any given time, a fully automated vehicle will switch role of the driver to that of a passenger, which could create confusion surrounding liability.

Currently, The Department for Transport suggests that the innocent victim of an autonomous vehicle would be at a disadvantage at securing quick compensation, compared to a victim of a collision involving a conventional vehicle.

Further complications arise as innocent third party victims might not be covered for collisions due to a software failure.

The government’s intervention in this aims to avoid these issues, and “to ensure that motor vehicles continue to be properly insured, and innocent victims of collisions involving automated vehicles are compensated quickly.”

Ben Howarth, senior policy adviser for motor and liability at the Association of British Insurers, commented: “The insurance industry is 100 per cent committed to supporting the development of automated vehicles, which have the potential to dramatically improve road safety and revolutionise our transport systems.

“We want to keep insurance as straightforward as possible, which is why insurers proposed the simple approach which the Government is now taking forward.”

Today’s top stories

Aon to sell $4.3bn business to Blackstone

Aspen ready to expand after Q4 loss

Profits halve at Willis in first year after merger

2016 major natural catastrophe losses highest since 2012

Pool Re urges re/insurers to help closing terrorism 'information gap'

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Elliot Field at efield@newtonmedia.co.uk or Adrian Tapping at atapping@newtonmedia.co.uk

More on this story

25 March 2014   Autonomous technology will continue to develop and become more commercially available which will offer insurers a number of opportunities, according to a report by Lloyd’s.