Experts Continue to Warn Insurers to Prepare for Autonomous Vehicles

Published: May 26, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



More auto insurance industry figures have spoken on the need for providers to be ready for the rise of autonomous vehicles, although fully self-driving vehicles are “quite a bit further off that we might expect”.

Driverless vehicles are expected to reach showrooms by 2018 at the latest, but fully autonomy is not expected for a decade, which dominance of these vehicles in the market could be 25 years away. Nevertheless, the Canadian auto insurance industry has been warned by numerous experts to prepare now for the technology, which will change the dynamics of the industry.

The CIP Society Automated Vehicles Research Forum in Toronto saw speakers discuss the impact of driverless vehicles on the insurance market, with the consensus that the industry needs to prepare over the next five to 10 years for the technology to emerge and impact the market.

“The fully robotic household vehicle – one that you can put in a driveway at your home and one that requires no driver and wouldn’t have a steering wheel –  is quite a bit further off than we might expect,” said Bern Grush, co-author of

The Insurance Institute of Canada hosted the forum at the National Club in Downtown Toronto, where Grush added that autonomy will play a part in urban planning and public transport.

“At some point, there will be large areas of many cities that say ‘you can’t come in here with manual vehicle at all,'” Grush told attendees.

Predictions for when fully autonomous vehicles (those that require no driver input at all) will be available is up for debate, but the ball park range is five to 10 years. Barrie Kirk, executive director of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence thinks the lower end of that time scale is more accurate.

“I am predicting, and others are predicting, that the first fully autonomous cars will be in the showrooms about 2020,” Kirk said.