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The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America wants future federal rules governing driverless vehicles to guarantee insurers “reasonable” access to data from cars with automated driving systems.

“The increasing automation of the driving function is likely to result in significant change for the auto insurance industry. To adapt to these changes and support innovation in transportation, insurers will need to have access to data and information regarding vehicles with automated driving systems,” Nathaniel Wienecke, PCI’s senior vice president, federal government relations, said in a June 26 letter submitted to the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, which held a June 27 hearing on self-driving vehicle legislation (Testimony also came from safety and consumer advocates).

Wienecke explained that insurers will need to be able to identify automated driving technology and the type of technology each vehicle has. This is critical, he said, “for insurers to develop historical loss data and innovate and price new insurance products to support the technology as it evolves.”

PCI wants any eventual rules governing driverless vehicles to “provide for reasonable access to insurers for claims handling purposes,” Wienecke wrote.

He added that in any accident involving a driverless vehicle, liability will likely depend on “whether a human driver or the vehicle itself was in control, and what actions either the driver or the vehicle did or did not take immediately prior to the loss event.”

Wienecke argued that having access to that data for insurers will help claims handling go more quickly and avoid disputes that could prevent accident victims from getting speedy compensation. Along those lines, Wieneke wrote that PCI would back “clear identification of federal and state regulatory responsibilities regarding self-driving vehicles, with the federal government setting and enforcing safety standards for motor vehicles and recalls, and the states continuing to have primacy on motor vehicle insurance and liability issues as they do today.”

Source: PCI