Insurance firm AXA tells UK to hurry up on rules for self-driving cars
Insurers have called on the UK government to get a move on with legislation for self-driving cars or risk creating a “messy” middle ground for insurance firms where liability isn’t clear.
AXA’s CEO Claudio Gienal has written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt calling for clear legislation to be implemented as soon as possible to make sure the technology can be rolled out safely and insured properly.
“From an insurance perspective, we need a clear regulatory framework to determine liability and establish a risk rating for different levels of self-driving technology,” Gienal said in a letter sent last month seen by City A.M.
“Without this guidance, we are at risk of more advanced assisted driver systems slowly creeping onto today’s roads, causing confusion for drivers and creating a ‘messy middle’ for insurers where liability isn’t clear,” he said.
Gienal added that legislation must be delivered during this parliament, with the UK otherwise risking becoming “uncompetitive in the global race to deploy this technology.”
Dougie Barnett, director of customer risk management at AXA commercial, told City A.M. that clarity for drivers was the “number one” priority.
“It’s really important to see what’s actually put onto statute,” he said.
Calls for legislation on self-driving vehicles from developers, insurers and politicians have been growing over the last year, after repeated delays and pushback.
Autonomous vehicle regulation was initially announced by Boris Johnson’s government during
the Queen’s Speech last May, but was postponed following a change of leadership.
The industry has been warning since then that unless adequate legislation is passed before the next general election, investment in the sector could drop.
Ashley Feldman, programme manager for transport at the trade association TechUK, warned that “any further legislative delay or false starts” in autonomous vehicle technology were likely to “send
the wrong message to businesses and investors”.
The Department for Transport did not comment on the legislative delays, but said it is investing £100m over the next three years in UK firms “to explore the potential of this new technology”.
“The self-driving vehicle industry offers an exciting opportunity to create new jobs, make transport greener and safer, and grow the economy,” a spokesperson said.