Fraud or technology – what will kill the insurance industry?

Car insurance companies have been under fire from fraudsters for years, but there’s a new foe insurers face: the coming technological advent of driverless cars.

Car insurance fraud has been ramping up once again, according to a new study just released from the Association of British Insurers. The trade industry body said that 2013 saw £1.3 billion in fraudulent claims, with the lion’s share – a massive £811 million – coming from the motor car insurance sector. It’s enough to make any car insurer scream with frustration, apparently – and then quietly adjust their rates upwards for everyone to cover their heightened expenses.

However, there’s another dastardly foe of the humble car insurance company lurking on the horizon, and it’s coming up sooner than anyone actually predicted. The advent of the driverless car is nearly here, and not just in far-flung places like Japan or experimental closed Google test tracks in the United States – new reports say that 2017 will see driverless vehicles appearing in Milton Keynes.

A vehicle that’s controlled by a computer with highly sophisticated sensors, programmed to obey traffic laws and drive safely, could quite easily be the final nail in the coffin for the insurance industry. With some reports saying that 9 accidents out of every 10 are attributable to human error, when you take the human driver out of the picture the number of road traffic accidents is going to plummet and there’ll be a severely reduced need for insurance companies. I for one can only hope that this means the market will collapse and insurers will have no choice but to provide cut-rate policies to everyone with a driverless car. If that day comes, I will be one happy chappy indeed!

Of course this could all just be a ruse perpetrated by some malevolent artificial intelligence programme in some secret cloud-based server as it plots to take over the entire world. The nation’s roadways are just the first step. I’ve seen those Terminator movies just as you have I’m sure. Maybe on second thought this whole driverless car idea isn’t the best one we’ve got. Then again, if it means cheap car insurance I for one welcome our new vehicular overlords.

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