The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has discussed how the Canadian auto insurance industry will manage the arrival of autonomous vehicles. Specifically, the IBC says companies are unlikely to mirror a recent prediction for the United States market.
In the US, the auto insurance industry believes premiums will be reduced by 40% by 2050 after driverless cars are fully implemented. However, the IBC says Canadian providers will likely be more cautious. Of course, a lot can happen in over thirty years, but the Bureau says information and technology will be key to growth.
“When it comes to driverless cars, insurers will need to assess the risks and determine products and pricing based on those risks,” said IBC spokesperson Andrew McGrath. “Our industry is becoming increasingly information-based, technologically connected and even more globalized. A competitive market sparks innovative products and solutions.”
Canada is already on the road to adopting driverless vehicles. Ontario opened a test program for autonomous vehicles in January. The program allows manufacturers to test their vehicles on Ontarian roads, but so far no companies have applied. Autonomous vehicles are expected to arrive in showrooms by 2018, although full autonomy is not expected for at least five years.
“While testing is under way in Canada, a functional and available driverless car is a way out on the horizon,” McGrath told Toronto Sun. “That being said, the insurance industry is always there to identify new risks and provide the needed coverage. But for now, car manufacturers are racing to improve safety.
“Emerging technologies could lead to ‘zero fatality’ roads,” he explained further. “We already see high-end vehicles that warn you [when you] drive too close, alert you to vehicles in your blind spot, and even park themselves.”