“On many of our projects, we work with tech startups and our clients,” said Wendi Bukowitz, Innovation Lab leader at Munich Re, US. “We work with tech startups because the future of risk management is being written by these companies. We work with our clients because we are committed to the strategy of collaboration as a way of co-creating the future.”

She provided an example of a pop-up Lab in Washington state.

  • The head of one of Munich Re’s strategic areas of innovation focus, Mobility, was instrumental in collaborating with a client, the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP), to pilot collision avoidance technology on several fleets of buses in the state.
  • Munich Re, along with several private companies and public agencies, funded the pilot.
  • Just as the pilot was getting underway, the Munich Re lab sponsored a working session that brought key stakeholders together for two-and-a-half intensive days to create a road map for how they could work together if the pilot was successful.
  • For the pilot, 38 WSTIP transit buses were equipped with Mobileye’s Shield+ technology. The advanced driver assistance technology empowers drivers to avoid and mitigate imminent collisions, protecting the most vulnerable and difficult-to-observe road users: cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.
  • According to a Jan. 22, 2017 press statement (provided by Munich Re) from Pierce Transit, a participant in the pilot project, the results were promising enough to pave the way for the transit agency to receive a $1.66 billion grant from the Federal Transportation Administration to equip all of its buses with Generation 2 Shield+ collision avoidance warning systems and a portion of the fleet with a Pedestrian Avoidance Safety System, an emergency braking technology. Munich Re and WSTIP are each contributing $100,000 to this new project.
  • The Pierce Transit announcement revealed that results of the Mobileye Shield+ technology pilot included an increase in driver speed compliance and following distance, as well as fewer pedestrian collision warnings on buses using the system than with the control group, which was monitoring potential collisions and speed but not alerting operators.
  • Describing the technology, the announcement said an intelligent vision sensor works like a bionic eye, identifying an extensive variety of potential road hazards, giving drivers visual and audible alerts when pedestrians and cyclists are in the danger zones or when a rear-end collision is imminent.
  • Munich Re, US said the proactive approach to retrofitting current bus fleets will allow transit agencies to improve safety and reduce losses in the near term rather than waiting for collision avoidance equipment to become standard on new buses, which could take 12-18 years, based on the minimum expected life of a transit bus.
  • Munich Re, US is also exploring applying collision avoidance technology to other sectors of commercial and personal auto insurance risks.