June 2019


NZILA President's message - Myles Noble

Technology to revolutionise insurance

Australian and New Zealand industry representatives attended the Insurtech Summit in Sydney to help understand considerations of insurance as emerging technology evolves.

It might seem like a distant concern but, believe it or not, a driverless vehicle future is approaching rapidly. Industry giant Axa’s technical director David Williams suggested “production-available driverless cars” will be on the streets by 2021.

While the extent and time frame of adoption is yet to be seen, a universally agreed inevitability is that autonomous cars will still have accidents.

Naturally, that prospect poses some interesting challenges for insurers; not least, what is the risk for their commercial, retail and injury divisions? Will individuals still be responsible and how do you determine parties at fault?

Crombie Lockwood attended the Insurtech Summit to identify how autonomous vehicles will revolutionise the automotive landscape and what that means for advice on motor vehicle insurance.

Thankfully, insurers have a proven track record of adapting to change. The industry has, after all, been around for centuries.

A popular rationale presented by Suncorp’s Asset and Advanced Technology Pricing Manager and autonomous vehicle expert Steve Cratchley was a roadmap of coverage that evolves with the technology.

From the traditional “I drive” model we currently know, to a “we drive” model where vehicles present partial autonomy, (already on our roads in premium products from the automotive industry) and a “car drives” model where the human element is almost redundant. The overlap of solutions between each stage would be years, potentially decades.

Mr Cratchley says the future of accident assessment and claims also will evolve. “Permission and partnership with customers around access to [vehicle] data will provide the real opportunity to remove ambiguity around fault determination after incidents,” he says.

That will also improve outcomes for customers via faster claim processing.

Insurers will also become much closer to vehicle manufacturers. Currently access to emerging data from developers is a challenge that is impacting on the insurance industry’s ability to forward plan. That will need to improve so more robust risk strategies can be formulated. The growing dependency on data will also drive increased scrutiny on data privacy and cyber security.

While there are many variables forming how the insurance industry readies itself for driverless cars, a common thread prevailed - meeting customers’ needs will always be the priority and ultimately that will always transcend technology.

NZILA AIDA representative in Marrakech

NZILA’s AIDA representative Jonathan Scragg attended AIDA’s April conference in Marrakech, Morocco. The theme was natural hazards and catastrophes. Jonathan spoke at a working party session on the various methods of dispute resolution that have been used to resolve claims arising out of the Christchurch earthquakes.

Other topics to feature prominently were the impact of climate change on natural catastrophe risks; early lessons to emerge from climate change litigation in the USA; and lessons to be learnt from the introduction of compulsory insurance in France for natural disasters.

There was a small Anzac contingent at the conference, with Australians Chris Rodd and Michael Gill attending, along with Jonathan. Marrakech provided a vibrant backdrop for the conference and the social program took full advantage of that with the highlight an excursion into the Medina for the conference dinner at a restaurant built more than 400 years ago. 

AIDA’s Presidential Council meets a second time this year in Lima, Peru, in October.

Upcoming events:

• NZILA/ICNZ Liability Insurance Discussion Group: Privacy law update and data protection. Auckland 11 June
• NZILA Annual Conference: Awesome Tamaki Makaurau. Auckland 11 September

For more information, go to www.nzila.org/events or email secretariat@nzila.org.

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Resolve is the official publication of the Australian Insurance Law Association and
the New Zealand Insurance Law Association.