Insuring Autonomy – Autonomous Vehicles
The autonomous vehicle (AV) industry has grown significantly in the last several years. As a company, we believe AVs ultimately will benefit society by reducing the number of crashes, injuries and lives lost.
That said, public policy questions and challenges with AVs continue to arise. We believe those questions and challenges must be addressed in a comprehensive manner that increases public safety, provides peace of mind, protects drivers and pedestrians, and spurs innovation.
As a longtime leader and innovator in both commercial and personal auto insurance, Travelers is well-positioned to contribute to this discussion. We are committed to being part of the insurance solution for risks associated with AVs and are actively underwriting such risks in the commercial market. In fact, we have an enterprise working group dedicated to monitoring and assessing the potential impacts and risks of AVs across our business units.
Our Position on AVs and Insuring AVs
As a leading auto insurer, Travelers plays a central role in the conversation about the future of transportation and mobility. The Travelers Institute recently released an updated position paper titled Insuring Autonomy: How auto insurance will lead through changing risks, as well as a companion edition for Canada. This position paper offers our company’s perspective and recommendations on important public policy issues related to AVs.
Our position paper makes the following key points, among others:
- Auto insurance can – and will – meet society’s needs in an AV world:
- Travelers believes that leveraging the existing automobile insurance structure, both commercial and personal, is the best method for compensating crash victims quickly and efficiently – now and in the future.
- The current insurance structure is already designed to adapt to evolving risk environments and would minimize regulatory uncertainty, market disruptions and consumer confusion.
- Continuing to rely on auto insurance for coverage, regardless of vehicle type, will also help to ensure consistency during the period in which AVs and driver-operated vehicles share the road.
- Whether a vehicle is autonomous or driver operated, auto insurance offers vehicle owners the most peace of mind when it comes to other concerns such as weather damage or theft.
- There are several critical insurance-related components for AV regulation:
- Any proposed legal and regulatory framework governing AVs must include provisions specifically related to auto insurance.
- Vehicle owners should be required to purchase and maintain adequate insurance for their AV, whether it is a personal, ride-hailing or company-owned vehicle. Coverage limits should be high enough to account for more expensive technology in AVs.
- The insurance industry should play a central role in AV policymaking and stakeholder discussions. Local, state and federal lawmakers and regulators must coordinate and seek input from all relevant constituencies to ensure a consistent, rational regulatory framework that addresses all potential issues.
- Travelers would support the development of a model state law relating to AV insurance that builds on the current state-based regulatory and oversight structure for auto insurance.
- Travelers engages in coalitions that help educate the public and make recommendations on AV-related issues. Insurers have extensive consumer communications programs and can help educate key groups on AV safety.
Watch Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute, discuss new insights from the position paper in this video.
Additional Public Policy Leadership
In addition to sharing our perspective through the Insuring Autonomy position paper, we engage on AV-related issues as a member of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford and the Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) coalition, including PAVE Canada. These organizations work to strategically advance research and public information about automated vehicle and driver assistance technologies.
In 2021, the Travelers Institute also hosted a series of webinars exploring automated vehicle technologies featuring Travelers leaders, government regulators, researchers and safety experts, including a former member of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Moreover, prior to the pandemic, the Institute held numerous in-person programs that included partners such as the Traffic21 Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Travelers experts regularly speak in public forums about AVs and the related insurance implications. The discussion of AVs is also incorporated into the Travelers Institute Every Second Matters® symposia, exploring how the advent of autonomous technologies impacts driver distraction.
We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers and other stakeholders to develop AV insurance policies and regulations that make sense for and benefit this growing industry and our consumers.
- United States AV Programming
- Canadian AV Programming
- Press Release: Travelers Joins Automated Vehicle Coalitions in Shaping the Future of Transportation
- Press Release: Travelers Institute Teams Up with Carnegie Mellon University and RAND Corporation to Host Automated Vehicle Symposium