The UK plans to introduce new insurance rules to ensure victims of accidents involving self-driving cars are compensated quickly.
The move will remove a major obstacle for the nascent industry. Self-driving car introduction has been hampered by legal hurdles in several countries as insurers and legislators try to establish who would ultimately be responsible in the event of an accident.
Transport Minister Chris Grayling said the public needed to be protected in the event of an incident and the framework to allow insurance for these new technologies will be out this week.
A single insurance product will be available to cover a driver when a vehicle is being used conventionally, as well as when the car is being used in autopilot mode, the transport ministry said in a statement.
The Blighty government wants to encourage the development and testing of autonomous driving technology to build an industry to serve a market it reckons could be worth about $1.1 trillion worldwide by 2025.
Japanese carmaker Nissan is due to test autonomous cars in London later this month after initial tests on public roads in the southern English town of Milton Keynes late last year.
The UK will also set out plans to improve infrastructure such as charging points for electric vehicles, the fastest growing sector for new car sales in the country and key to meeting environmental targets.
Microsoft and the rest of the IT vendors never said that technology was safe.
They didn’t say that because they always knew it wasn’t but still wanted to sell stuff.
And it’s an ill wind that brings no one any good, because according to market research company ABI Research, insurance companies are set to collect a $10 billion cyber bonanza by the year 2020.
Michela Menting, a research director at ABI, said that continued and sustained cyber attacks “are having a ruinous effect on enterprises”. She said that over 900 million records were abstracted last year and that’s leading big companies to insure themselves.
But, she added, less than 20 percent of big enterprises use cyber insurance and for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), only six percent bother.
She said that companies will move to cyber insurance at a compound annual growth rate of 36.6 percent between now and 2020.
She said: “The largest barrier to growth is lack of actuarial data about cyber attacks, but this is quickly changing.” She continued that insurers find it difficult to give data or systems a proper value.
“They are unable to scope the cyber risk environment of an organisation.”
One of Sony’s insurers has gone to court to ask for a ruling so it doesn’t have to pay to defend the outfit from the class-actions and other lawsuits which have resulted from the recent hacking scandal.
Sony was turned over by hackers who managed to make off with huge amounts of personal data, including credit card details.
Zurich American Insurance has asked a New York state court to rule it does not have to defend or payout in any claims “asserted in the class-action lawsuits, miscellaneous claims, or potential future actions instituted by any state attorney general.”
The outfit is also suing Sony’s other insurers, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, AIG and ACE. It appears that it wants the others to take the can for paying out in the Sony case. Zurich has asked the court to clarify the other insurers responsibilities under the policies they had written for Sony.
Reuters quoted digital lawyer Richard Bortnick as saying that Zurich doesn’t think the small print in its coverge means that it has to defend Sony. However, there might still be a duty to defend and it wants to make sure all of the insurers with a potential duty to defend are contributing,
Sony may be able to claim there was property damage as a result of the data breach, Zurich will claim that its general liability insurance it wrote for Sony was never intended to cover digital attacks.
In May, Sony said it was looking to its insurers to help pay for its massive data breach – which it claims will cost $178 million.
The situation highlights a big problem: that the insurance industry needs to come up with reasonable premiums to cover hacking cases like this. In the Sony case there is the small matter of how much security was in place to stop hacking, to begin with.
The insurers could argue that placing data on unprotected servers on the internet is an invitation to be hacked, and they would have charged more in premiums if they knew.
Bourses worldwide were in the red today after fears that a combination of Acts of God and acts of dictators caused selloffs across the world.
Nikkei dropped by 14 percent at close early today, while the US markets, NASDAQ and NYSE, showed drops at opening time today. The FTSE fell too.
Price of commodities, including gold, fell – although pundits in Wall Street are describing the early trades as “sell offs” rather than meltdown.
The Nikkei fell by a massive 10 percent, while other indicators such as the LSE and NASDAQ fell by between 1.5 and two percent.
The crisis in Japan has wiped out the worries about the price of oil – that is dropping steadily during today. Libya isn’t quite the hot topic it was this time last week, it appears.
Shares in insurance companies don’t yet seem to be adversely affected. Tech stocks joined in the general tumble in what some described as a “domino effect”.