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Driverless cars not expected to ruin insurance industry

Missouri residents may be familiar with the various predictions as to what will happen when driverless cars become the norm. Some experts have focused on the fate of the auto insurance industry and made dire predictions: A 2016 Morgan Stanley report estimates that the industry will shrink by 80 percent by the year 2040.

However, two things suggest a different outcome: newer research and the recent spate of fatal accidents involving autonomous vehicles. A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that the insurance industry will simply evolve rather than go away. The nature of policies may change, and who pays for them may change, creating opportunities for companies that are quickest to adapt.

While individual drivers may not need coverage, technology companies and parts manufacturers likely will. The parts that compose autonomous technology, such as cameras and sensors, will raise auto accident costs. Insurance companies could also offer cyber insurance because hacking into cars might become a widespread problem.

Insurers can also take advantage of the transitional stage where drivers use autonomous features not all of the time but only when parking or driving in heavy traffic. Not all companies provide policies for both drivers and vehicles, so the transition can be difficult. However, these and other revenue sources will ensure that the industry remains.

Those who are involved in auto accidents because another driver was being distracted by a smartphone or some other technology may be eligible for compensation if they file a claim against the defendant's auto insurance company. A lawyer and his or her network of professionals may be able to evaluate the case and gather the necessary proof. The lawyer may speak on the victim's behalf at the negotiation table or, as a last resort, in the courtroom.

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