UK insurers put heads together on driverless car question

Driverless cars stock pic
20 Jan, 2016 3:20pm Joe Finnerty

New Automated Driving Insurer Group formed to tackle issues on liability and road traffic laws for autonomous vehicles

Issues surrounding the impact of driverless cars on car insurance policies will be tackled by an alliance of some of Britain's largest motor insurers.

Aviva and Direct Line are just two of the big names involved in the newly-formed Automated Driving Insurer Group that's being fronted by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Thatcham Research.

The organisation will consider if liability lies with drivers, manufacturers or software developers after an accident involving a driverless car. It'll also look at different levels of automation and how road traffic laws need to be adjusted for the new age of motoring that seems to be dawning.

Autonomous cars: everything you need to know

Uncertain future for car insurers

The alliance will work with Government to help shape the future. A future that could pose huge financial risks to insurers. While claims will be reduced by fewer accident payouts, it means premiums will fall, too. Plus there's the threat of manufacturers self-insuring and taking business away from traditional firms.

Final decisions are likely to be still some years away, though. The first official trials of driverless cars were only launched in February 2015 and it's likely to be at least 10 years before they become commonplace on our roads.

Self-driving Volvo in car

ABI director of general insurance policy James Dalton claimed the presence of driverless cars on UK roads would be "life-changing". Dalton added: "Insurers are not standing in the way of this development but actively looking to support progress and innovation.

"The developments we've seen towards increasingly autonomous vehicles are already reaping rewards - with autonomous emergency braking reducing collisions and injuries and helping to bring down insurance premiums.

"Truly driverless cars have the potential to dramatically reduce deaths and injuries on the roads and could revolutionise what we think of as public transport."

Do you like the idea of self-driving cars on UK roads? Join the debate in the comments section below...