Property/casualty insurance carriers want future federal rules governing driverless vehicles to guarantee insurers “reasonable” access to data from cars with automated driving systems.
“The increasing automation of the driving function is likely to result in significant change for the auto insurance industry. To adapt to these changes and support innovation in transportation, insurers will need to have access to data and information regarding vehicles with automated driving systems,” Nathaniel Wienecke, senior vice president, federal government relations, for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America said in a a recent letter submitted to the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, which held a June 27 hearing on self-driving vehicle legislation.
Wienecke said that insurers will need to be able to identify automated driving technology and the type of technology each vehicle has. This is critical, he said, “for insurers to develop historical loss data and innovate and price new insurance products to support the technology as it evolves.”
At the hearing, lawmakers debated whether to override state rules for testing and deployment of self-driving cars and to allow automakers and technology companies to bypass existing regulations in introducing autonomous cars.
PCI wants any eventual rules governing driverless vehicles to “provide for reasonable access to insurers for claims handling purposes.”
Wienecke added that in any accident involving a driverless vehicle, liability will likely depend on “whether a human driver or the vehicle itself was in control, and what actions either the driver or the vehicle did or did not take immediately prior to the loss event.”
Wienecke argued that having access to that data for insurers will help claims handling go more quickly and avoid disputes that could prevent accident victims from getting speedy compensation. Along those lines, Wienecke stated that PCI would back “clear identification of federal and state regulatory responsibilities regarding self-driving vehicles, with the federal government setting and enforcing safety standards for motor vehicles and recalls, and the states continuing to have primacy on motor vehicle insurance and liability issues as they do today.”
The debate over usage of the driving data already includes consumers, insurers, car makers and the creators of the telematics and other technologies used for autonomous vehicles. KPMG said in a recent report that “disaggregation from information” is a risk for insurers and could hamper how they participate in the future marketplace. Car makers themselves could decide to get into insurance business using the data.
Related to data access is data security. William C. Wallace, a policy analyst for Consumers Union, told federal lawmakers that consumers should know what data their car is collecting and transmitting, and who has access to this information. “They should be able to trust that companies are legally obligated to protect their privacy and the security of their data. This trust is important not just for consumers themselves, but also for the broader acceptance and successful deployment of active safety and automated driving systems across the marketplace,” Wallace said.