Automotive Insurance Premiums to Fall Again?

by nickk on September 1, 2014

There’s a lot of technology looking to drive automotive insurance premiums down. The beginning of this trend was with telematics. The idea that you can monitor the insured party’s vehicle remotely for a range of condition enables insurers to reduce the risks they cover with greater certainty. Then there are dashboard cameras which enable incidents to be reviewed in detail and blame apportioned fairly.

The ultimate end point of this technological journey is the driverless car and companies like Google are indicating that this isn’t too far away.

Another Step on the Path

In the interim, General Motors has announced yet another development that may impact on the premiums of hundreds of thousands of motorists. They say they’ve developed a device which enables them to tell when a driver is distracted from paying attention to the road. They’re confident enough that this technology works that they will be installing them in 500,000 new cars over the next 3-5 years.

The technology itself will be coming from Seeing Machines (which is an Australian company listed on the London stock exchange) which in turn will be working with Takata (a company which specializes in safety devices) so supply GM with their monitoring devices.

How Does the Device Work?

The idea is that the will be cameras installed inside the car which track the motion and rotation of the driver’s head. This data can then be used to generate warnings; for example, if the driver is applying makeup rather than checking their mirrors – they’ll be told to pay more attention to the mirrors in the right way.

And There’s More

The potential for this technology doesn’t end there. You could use it for driver recognition programs which ensure that the right driver is present before the ignition can be activated. You could then, theoretically, stop your children from driving your car late at night by limiting their ability to activate the vehicle to during the day and early evenings.

If the car is stolen; it could also capture images of the individual thief making it easier for the police to catch them – particularly if it was combined with a 3G broadcasting system so images are sent in real time.

Then, to take things a little further still you could monitor things like pupil dilation and incorporate additional sensors for vital signs to ensure that the driver is healthy and sober before taking the wheel.

In fairness, it remains to be seen how these devices will perform on the road in the mass market and insurers can probably relax until the technology becomes fully accepted.

Car Insurance Safety Device


3-D printing has been hailed as one of the technological innovations of the century. You can develop prototypes quickly and easily without expensive manufacturing. You may soon be able to use them to print medicine or organs in remote corners of the world. In the rush to embrace the good from this kind of printing it’s possible that insurers haven’t realized the risks associated with 3-D printing.

Even at the moment when 3-D printing is limited to plastic and metal objects the risks are substantial. For example, you can already print a hearing aid and that means more complex devices are not far away from being realized through 3-D printing.

New Risks

The most famous use of a 3-D printer to date was to print a gun. That’s right, a working firearm that required a single steel pin (in addition to the printed mold) to work. There’s a substantial risk that unrestrained 3-D printing may enable employees to introduce significant risks to themselves and others in the workplace and the wider world. The pattern for the gun has been widely disseminated online.

Then there are the potential risks associated with the heat of 3-D printing. It’s a much warmer kind of printing than paper printing and that increases the fire risks within 3-D printing environments.

Then there are the intellectual property implications as 3-D printing becomes more sophisticated it’s going to become very easy to print your own iPhone or possibly even your own Porsche. That’s going to represent a huge problem for those manufacturers that rely on exclusivity to drive their sales and the arena of IP protection is likely to become extremely combative with the appropriate increases in legal fees.

Finally, there’s an increased risk of catastrophic economic damages to firms that use 3-D printing if their designs are duplicated or stolen via data hacking or loss.

Insurers in the UK need to draw attention to the increased risk profile of 3-D printing in a work environment and ensure that their insured parties understand these risks and are paying the appropriate premiums to cover those risks.

It’s unlikely that a major catastrophe will happen immediately; the technology’s still too new and remains applied to specialist applications today but it’s also not that far away either. The evolution of technology suggests that insurers can’t afford to wait before reacting to 3-D printing or someone could get burned.

3D Printing and Insurance


The End of the Insurance Underwriter?

by nickkAugust 4, 2014

Technology brings change; it’s inevitable. Most change is positive; it makes us more productive, it allows us to do things more safely, it brings convenience but there is also disruptive change. A recent paper from Oxford University sheds light on a change that some in the insurance industry will not appreciate; “The Future of Employment: […]

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Nanotechnology and Insurance

by nickkJuly 31, 2014

There are many fields of emerging risk in technology but few are as fascinating as nanotechnology. Nanotechnology involves materials which are less than 1 billionth of a meter long. A human hair is about 800 times thicker than the average nanomaterial. It’s not too long ago that nanotechnology was really the stuff of science fiction. […]

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Consumer Insurance Companies – About to be Rated?

by nickkJuly 21, 2014

There’s no doubt that technology has the power to help the insurance industry. This week, we’re left wondering if a new development may hinder some insurers and boost the profiles of others. Traditionally insurers have been rated on their financial performance and perhaps their stockholders. These measurements are great if you want to invest in […]

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Is It Time for Your Insurance Brokerage to Ditch Google?

by nickkJuly 7, 2014

Google’s rise to the pole position of search engines was nothing short of meteoric. Many have tried to dominate this space on the internet and many have failed. Google won’t acknowledge that the word “Google” has become a verb because it would damage their trademark but the name has become truly synonymous with searching for […]

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Selfies to Settle Car Insurance Claims?

by nickkJune 23, 2014

Last year, the word “Selfie” entered the English language officially when the Oxford English Dictionary finally included it in the dictionary. They also made it their word of the year for 2013. For the uninitiated the “selfie” is simply a photo you take of yourself. Once you’ve taken the shot; it’s normally uploaded to a […]

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Why Aggregators are Beating the Insurers and Winning Customer’s Hearts and Minds

by nickkJune 19, 2014

Last week on our sister site; we looked at the reasons that User Experience (or UX) is important to insurers looking to improve their online offerings or to move into the mobile application space. This week we’d like to review some of the findings from a recent report from Instinct Studios and show how a […]

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Bitcoin and Insurance – Cover Your Virtual Wallet

by nickkJune 9, 2014

Bitcoin is the world’s most famous virtual currency. It is an unregulated means of conducting transactions on and offline. Whilst much of the press attention regarding Bitcoin has been focused on the ability to conduct criminal dealings in a hard-to-trace manner; there has been a growing interest in the currency from more legitimate users too. […]

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5 Reasons that Cyber-Risk Insurance is Going to Be A Growth Market for the Next Decade

by nickkMay 26, 2014

In a global business environment the number one asset for an enterprise is its data. It’s data that enables the fine-tuning of products and research into new product development. It’s data that enables constant customer contact, client billing and delivery to clients. Yet, cyber-risk insurance that protects that data and the misuse of that data […]

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