Governor’s AV Committee Meets to Discuss Insurance Issues

On Feb. 28, the Governor’s Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment convened for their fifth meeting. The Committee is charged with developing a report by June 30 to the governor regarding their findings and recommendations on autonomous vehicle (AV) policies in Wisconsin.

The meeting began with a quick review of the minutes from the January meeting and an announcement that Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) will replace former Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere), who departed the legislature in December.

The only presentation at this month’s meeting was from Allie McGuire-Korte from American Family Insurance. The presentation focused on insurance issues related to connected and AV technology. McGuire-Korte explained that while vehicles with AV technology have enhanced safety features, that does not necessarily mean reduced insurance pricing. Other factors, such as trends with increased miles driven and distracted driving, also have an impact. In addition, McGuire-Korte stated that while technology is effective at reducing accidents, repair costs for vehicles with AV technology are more expensive.

McGuire-Korte stated that one of the major challenges facing the insurance industry with AV technology is the lack of data. Since insurance pricing is based on historical data, it is difficult for companies to price policies appropriately. She discussed how increased access for insurance companies to testing data would be helpful in developing historical trends.

In addition, McGuire-Korte discussed how more vehicle data will be needed for underwriting and claims purposes. For claims, insurance companies will need a “statement” from the vehicle, like a statement from a driver. This includes data 30 seconds before and 10 seconds after the accident, information on time of day, speed, breaking, take control messages, and what AV technology was activated, etc.

The other major issue discussed by McGuire-Korte was accident liability. She said that some auto manufacturers have stated that they would assume liability if the AV technology is fully activated; however, American Family believes there is still significant gray area surrounding liability. She cited concerns regarding if vehicle features are fully deployed or if features did not work properly or human intervention was delayed. For insurance companies, data will also be key to determining liability as well.

McGuire-Korte also discussed policy trends as AV technology becomes more common. This includes partnerships between insurance companies and manufacturers – or just manufacturers (like Care by Volvo) to provide “bundled policies.” She also discussed the possibility of insurance for fleets or just transit coverage, especially if AVs are shared and not necessarily individually owned.

The group asked McGuire-Korte several follow-up questions, especially related to the data needs. One member inquired about data requirements on Event Data Recorders and if that will be sufficient, as well as how data will also be made available to law enforcement. McGuire-Korte mentioned that insurance companies will need to prepare to receive different data formats – although standardization would be ideal. She also stated that without access to data, insurance companies may have to pursue legal action to gain access. Other members weighed in on the data issues – with some members mentioning privacy concerns.

As the committee wrapped up their discussion, committee chair and Department of Transportation Secretary David Ross told the group that the report will begin to be drafted by a group of legislators on the committee and staff from the governor’s office. He encouraged members to reach out if there are specific items to discuss.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 28.