Preparing for Insurance in the Autonomous Vehicle Future

December 14, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has recently published “Auto Insurance for Automated Vehicles: Preparing for the Future of Mobility’. The advent of autonomous vehicles is a huge disruptor to the insurance business. The newly published paper lays out the results of two years of research by the industry into their future.

There is no question that widespread automated vehicle use is coming to Canada’s roads. There is already extensive testing of them on public roads in cities such as Stratford, Ontario. Insurers are pushing the governments and regulating bodies to update the laws to reflect the realities of the changes. The paper was prepared by auto insurance experts and a panel of legal advisors. This marks a good starting point for insurers and brokers and has begun to spark a lot of discussion and thoughtful questions around what and how insurance companies will operate in the future.

The key recommendations from the paper include:

  • Establish a single insurance policy covering driver negligence and automated technology malfunctions to facilitate liability claims.
  • Create a legislated data-sharing arrangement between auto manufacturers, vehicle owners, and insurers to help determine the cause of a collision.
  • Update federal vehicle safety standards to address new technology and cyber security standards.

From a personal injury perspective, it remains paramount that we provide victims of collisions comprehensive compensation in a timely manner for injuries.

Insurance Business magazine stated earlier in November 2018:
IBC also noted that, at present, at province has a prescribed auto insurance policy and supporting laws that do not accommodate automated vehicles – they are “built on the notion that human error is the primary cause of collisions.”

The bureau projects that as drivers give more control to automated tech, there will likely be fewer collisions. But since these collisions will be considered product malfunctions, there could be confusion among all those involved in an accident about where liability for the accident lies – and current insurance laws cannot help in that department.

These confusing cases could potentially delay treatment for accident victims, IBC warned.

“IBC is asking governments across the country to update relevant laws, to ensure we are ready when automated vehicles hit the roads,” the bureau concluded in its position paper.

There are also questions around:

  • The overall cost of auto insurance. Will it go up or down? There should be far fewer accidents, however the vehicles themselves will be far more expensive to repair.
  • How will rates calculated and impacted in shared driver/vehicle policies when there is a significant low as a result of technology
  • What happens to rates when an accident is caused by the tech vs. the human
  • Can we attain legislated data-sharing in this era of data privacy concerns and legislation?

Widespread consensus must be achieved on guiding principals with insurance, regulations, and safety standards in the autonomous vehicle industry. Thought also needs to be given as to the morality of the programming given the vehicles.

For example, when a decision must be made over losing a life (for example an unavoidable collision between a car and a child in which both parties are in peril) how is the programming made in the AI? Which life is more valuable? This is a line of research that is ongoing but which is not getting much attention for obvious reasons.



Posted under Accident Benefit News, Personal Injury

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

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