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Driverless cars to effect gradual shift in insurance industry

In 2016, there was a report from Morgan Stanley entitled "Are Auto Insurers on the Road to Nowhere?" which estimated that with the introduction of driverless cars, the auto insurance industry would dwindle by 80 percent by 2040. Oklahoma residents should know that newer research, in addition to the spate of fatal accidents involving driverless cars, is painting a different picture of the future.

The time may come when individual drivers no longer need coverage. However, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report predicts that new sources for revenue will open up, effecting a gradual shift in the industry rather than a sharp decline. Manufacturers and technologies companies in particular may want coverage. From sensors to bumper cameras, autonomous car tech can be costly; even fender benders will no doubt raise the average cost of repairs.

Other opportunities may arise for insurance companies that are quick to adapt. To protect cars from getting hacked, they could offer cyber insurance. This is just one of many possibilities.

Insurers can also offer policies for both individual drivers and their vehicles. Rather than use autonomous features all the time, drivers will likely use them when they are parking, stuck in traffic or in some other situation that calls for them.

In the meantime, victims of car accidents may file a third-party insurance claim if they find out the other driver was being negligent. Semi-autonomous tech can easily make drivers feel like they can take their eyes off the road, so it could be a factor in many cases. Victims may want to retain a lawyer, who might bring in experts to gather the proof of negligence, such as the police report and cellphone records. The lawyer may then be able to negotiate for a reasonable settlement, leaving litigation only as a final option.

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