Insurance Europe has today published an insight briefing that examines the liability questions raised by light electric vehicles and automated vehicles, as well as the issue of access to the data of connected and automated vehicles. The briefing was launched at an event on insuring future mobility.
The increased use of light electric vehicles — such as electric bicycles, segways and electric scooters — has led to questions being raised about liability for accidents and whether motor third-party liability (MTPL) insurance should be mandatory for such vehicles. Insurance Europe believes that the defining factor in deciding this should stem from existing rules, ie that compulsory insurance should only apply at EU level to vehicles that can exceed 25 km/h.
Liability and insurance are also an issue at the heart of the debate around automated vehicles. While these vehicles are expected to make roads safer in the long run, accidents will still happen. Here, compulsory insurance is indeed needed, in the same way as it is for traditional vehicles, and there is, in fact, already a solid regulatory framework in place at European level that is fit for purpose: the Motor Insurance Directive, complemented by the Product Liability Directive.
Insurance Europe argues that, for insurers to be able carry out their core function of providing compensation, they need to have access to any relevant data generated by the vehicles involved before, during and after an accident or incident has occurred. This enables insurers to understand what went wrong and apportion liability correctly. Furthermore, access to the data from automated vehicles will also help insurers to better understand the risks they present and to insure them accordingly.
The data generated by modern vehicles also provides an opportunity for drivers to access a wide range of innovative products and services: insurance policies specifically tailored to driving style (“pay how you drive” and “pay as you drive” policies) or that incentivise better driving (driver feedback and/or coaching). These not only create potential savings for consumers, but could also improve road safety. However, some regulatory action is needed at EU level in order to ensure consumers — and society more generally — benefit from these technological developments. Drivers must remain in control of their vehicle data and be free to share it with the service providers of their choice, without having to go through the vehicle manufacturer. This can only be achieved through EU regulatory intervention.