Semi-Autonomous Cars; Latest Safety, Data & Behavioural Advances

One of the big themes this February for Insurance Edge is the advance in tech in semi-autonomous cars and how it impacts on driver behaviour. It’s important for insurers, as changes in behaviour obviously have an effect on incidents, claims costs and the severity of injuries, as well as their frequency. More complex injury claims tend to continue as live claims for years rather than months, so the progress of car technology, as well as driver understanding of what “self driving” cars actually means, is really important.


In the UK we have 5 levels of autonomous vehicles, with level 5 being full control, in all situations, being carried out by the vehicle itself. In short, we aren’t there yet, no matter how keen some Tesla owners are to claim their car is “self driving.”

What we actually have are ADAS systems, which help drivers become aware of hazards, or take control of functions like parking, braking or steering in certain defined situations. For insurance brands, it’s key to define what ADAS tech is in a particular model at the point of quote or renewal. It’s also useful to know if the driver NEVER uses some of those features, either because they are a very smooth driver, or they over-ride them or request a technician to disable them. It’s rare, but it happens.


So modern cars generate a huge amount of data and the benefit for insurance brands is that be getting access to that data, they can offer presonalised car or van insurance. This has been going on for about a decade in the fleet market, which embraced in-car black boxes in their eraly years. But it’s becoming mainstream now. By understanding where the risk is; parking location, speeds, favourite routes, commuting etc insurers can tailor quotes in real time. That opens the door to brands like By Miles, Zego or MCE, who essentially offer PAYG cover, which you can activate by app.

A gadget like the ThingCo Theo can also offer emergency assistance to drivers, as well as a data snapshop of an incident and many drivers – not just the under 25s – value that peace of mind.

Cambridge Mobile Telematics also thinks that in a time of inflation, consumers will now see the financial value of sharing driving data. In an opinion piece CMT noted that consumer loyalty is actually higher within telematics app products, which is possibly a result of the policyholder feeling they are saving money. Read more on CMT’s US market insights here by the way.


Richer data can make a big difference when it comes ot settling claims. Not just defining who was at fault, but understanding how certain injuries might be unlikely to be caused by a low speed collision for example. Then there are the repairs to consider and data gathered from just before the impact can again help insurers know which parts are likely to need replacement, or wther green, recycled parts can be used.

Kajal Vakas, senior manager of claims, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Insurance, UK & Ireland offers these insights;

When an incident occurs, insurers are asking themselves key questions to determine how to handle the claim; ‘should I pay?’ and ‘how much should I pay?’

To answer these, they need information. Usually it can take hours, days even weeks to gather the insight needed. The information chain is made up of multiple links from the insured driver, the repairer, the engineer and even the police. The longer the claim remains open, the higher the operating cost.

In a world of data and information, there is potential to accelerate claims handling and support insurers in answering those key questions.

By enriching data through the vehicle, crash reports can provide reliable and accurate data about the incident at speed and scale. Understanding the claimant’s historic links to fraud and past claims can build a picture of the claimant and build confidence in the claim being genuine.

Enriching the claim with ADAS data can help determine the technology in the vehicle and route to the most relevant supplier. Deep insight on the vehicle helps understand previous accidental damage, MOT history and the value of the vehicle. Overlaying that information with predicted repair costs, parts availability and ancillary costs such as replacement car and storage and even the carbon footprint to repair or write-off, enables insurers to make the right decisions for both them and their customers and provide options in how their customer would like to be indemnified.

Data can transform the information chain so that decisions can be made at speed and scale reducing touchpoints, improving efficiency and the customer experience, ultimately delivering competitive advantage.



About alastair walker 11372 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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