Technology and data acquisition is creating new opportunities for insurers and dealers even if drivers are not willing to accept the most advanced forms of automated driving, said Janet Connor, managing director of AA Insurance.
Speaking to around 500 insurance brokers today she pointed out that in-car technology not only provides safety-related features that help to reduce the risk of a collision, but provides car manufacturers with data on car performance as well as driver behaviour.
Many brokers believe that this will lead car manufacturers to develop and provide their own insurance for drivers of their cars, pitching premiums to reflect driver behaviour.
“This raises questions firstly, about who owns the data and secondly about customer choice,” Ms Connor said.
“Some brokers believe that new car technology will ‘rip the heart out’ of the motor insurance broking market. But customers should be able to choose where they obtain their motor insurance and the data collected should be transferable.
The broking sector has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a part in this fast-moving market, she told the conference in Birmingham.
“The trials of driverless cars have led so some poorly-considered speculation about what this means in terms of insurance. Much of the technology for driverless cars already exists and is being built into new car models, increasingly mid and lower-range vehicles as well as top end marques: for instance automatic emergency braking.
“But while it will be some time before we see autonomous vehicles mixing with ordinary traffic on our roads and the AA’s own research suggests that most drivers would not readily trust the safety of the technology.
“More important we see vehicle ownership changing which brings its own challenges. People are increasingly less likely to own the cars they drive and are more likely to share a vehicle – a practice that is already becoming established elsewhere in Europe.”
Ms Connor believes that brokers are best placed in terms of flexibility and choice to help customers adapt to the technological changes taking place in the motor market.
“And I’m glad that the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is already exploring with motor manufacturers, the Government and the insurance industry ways to ensure brokers will play a vital role in future technology-based insurance.”