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IUA survey cites obstacles to adoption of autonomous vehicles

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Driverless ships and aviation drones face fewer barriers to adoption than driverless cars. That is the view of underwriting professionals replying to an International Underwriting Association (IUA) survey on developing technologies.

Respondents expressed concern about a lack of associated infrastructures for autonomous modes of transport, as well as cost, technological capability, public perception and regulation. In each case these barriers to adoption were thought to apply most significantly to driverless cars.

However, all three types of vehicle are expected to be in widespread use within 10 years by more than 80% of practitioners.

The views were collected in an online poll of IUA members conducted by the association’s Developing Technology Monitoring Group (DTMG), which was established two years ago to examine how new technologies would impact upon various classes of insurance business. A series of questions were posed focussing on three key technologies: unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, autonomous vehicles and autonomous vessels. The survey sought to assess market expectations and concerns surrounding future coverage for each transportation method.

Daniel Fletcher, Technology Practice Manager at Chubb Europe and Chairman of the DTMG, said: “Insurance companies are embracing new technologies and developing broad, wide-reaching cover for a range of different risks. The expansion of such products generally mirrors the rate of development for the technologies themselves.

“Unmanned aerial vehicles are currently the most widely used and this is reflected in the number of IUA members who stated in our survey that they are offering products in this area and, indeed, the geographical spread of cover. Autonomous vessels, however, could represent a significant potential growth area for the London Market with a quarter of the companies responding to our poll stating that they are considering launching a product in this field.

“A growing interest in the work of the IUA’s Developing Technology Monitoring Group is also reflective of companies’ increased focus on these underwriting opportunities. The group has been well supported by members and considers issues relevant to a wide range of business classes including aviation, cyber, casualty, liability, marine and professional lines.”

Results from the IUA survey were discussed at a half-day conference hosted by the association. The event was attended by more than 50 London Market professionals and considered issues surrounding the use of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things devices, data privacy and systemic cyber exposure.

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