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Autonomous cars have the potential to reduce the rate of traffic accidents as sensors and software give a car faster and better reflexes to prevent a collision. However, a greater level of automation increases the need for cyber security and sophisticated software, experts said.

“Although accident rates will theoretically fall, new risks will come with autonomous vehicles,” said Domenico Savarese, Group head of Proposition Development and Telematics at Zurich Insurance.

“What should be done in the case of a faulty software algorithm? Should manufacturers be required to monitor vehicles post-sale in the case of a malfunction or a hacker attack?” Savarese asked.

While established models for assigning liability, such as holding the owner responsible for what the car does, will still be relevant, the onus may shift toward manufacturers.

Software and connected cars are creating new opportunities for insurance companies to customise policies to clients.

“You could pay for how much you drive, or get a lower premium based on how well you drive,” Savarese said, adding that these policies will only be made possible if the client allows the insurer to monitor them.

Without driver consent, the insurer will have no right to spy on the driver, not even for exceeding the speed limit.

“We do not want to be big brother, or big puppeteer,” Savarese said.

It will take until 2025 for fully autonomous cars to emerge, Boston Consulting Group senior partner Nikolaus Lang said, adding that carmakers will have to pave the way for winning over regulators by showing they have invested to make their cars less vulnerable to hacker attacks.


car-insurance-premiumsAttaining car insurance is vital for any car owner, as the costs which come with being involved in an accident or having your car stolen astronomical if one is not covered. However, we understand that the premiums which we have to pay for car insurance can also be quite costly and take a toll on the pocket.
Before you resort to cancelling your car insurance all together, here are some helpful tips for reducing your car insurance premiums:
If you have low mileage, let your insurance company know:

  • The lower your mileage, the lower your premium. Therefore, if you don’t drive a lot or if you only drive short distances, make this clear to your insurance company as it could result in you paying less.
  • When purchasing your car, know what the premiums will be:
    Before you take that big step and purchase your car, make sure that you know roughly what the premiums will be. Of course, insurance premiums depend a lot on the make, model and age of your car, so keep car insurance in mind before purchasing that dream car.
  • Take security and anti-theft measures:
    Where you keep your car and the amount of security measures you take to keep your car safe has a direct effect on your car insurance premium. For example, if you keep your car in a locked garage and you have a tracking device for your car, your insurance costs will be less. Try taking which ever safety measures that you can, even if it means simply using a steering wheel lock.
  • Be a cautious driver:
    Be sure to drive cautiously and obey the rules of the road. By doing this, you can reduce your chances of being involved in an accident.
  • Compare car insurance quotes:
    Shop around for different insurance quotes from different insurance companies. When comparing quotes, you may find that another company can offer a better deal than the one you were planning on going with. If renewing your contract, you can make your insurance company aware of this and they may give you a better deal!
    When attaining car insurance, you need to always do your research, but these tips may make the process even easier and ensure that you come out with the best insurance premium which suits you and your budget.

Consider the following scenario that really happened recently on a busy highway in Johannesburg. An elderly gentleman was in the fast lane of the highway with a string of cars behind him. He was driving at around 75km per hour and the younger guy just behind him was getting increasingly frustrated and impatient. When he finally managed to get into the lane just left of the elderly man, he slowed down and with arms waving tried to indicate to the older man that he must move out of the fast lane. The elderly man didn’t even move his head, he just held on to the steering wheel and continued driving in the fast lane. He was clearly concentrating and didn’t even give other drivers a

The actions and reactions of other drivers on the road in this scenario raises a few questions. Are older drivers a bigger danger on the road than younger drivers? Should older drivers be penalised for their age when their car insurance premiums are calculated? Or could we argue that they should pay less for car insurance than younger drivers because they have the benefit of experience behind them?

If we look at the facts around this subject, we know that car insurance companies favour females above males as far as calculating car insurance premiums go because females are known to be better drivers than males as they are more patient and often have children as passengers. It is also a fact that young males – usually those under 25, are known to be high risk drivers because they are prone to speeding, drinking and driving and in general not very attentive on the road. Males and females over 40 are seen as drivers with lower risk as they are more experienced and not as impatient as younger drivers and therefore their car insurance premiums also tend to be lower.

It is, however, also a fact that as people age, factors like impaired vision, mental and/or physical deterioration, slower reaction times and a lack of confidence on high speed roads can severely impede their driving skills. The question is how do car insurance companies determine at what age car insurance premiums should increase, and is it fair to assume that all people  reaching that specific age would automatically qualify as high risk?

If looking at statistics that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the USA released, drivers between 64 and 69 are the safest drivers on the road, no doubt, because they have years of driving experience behind them and also because they have learned the art of being patient. Unfortunately, many people in that age group are already suffering with age related disabilities and car insurance companies could argue that even though that age group was proven to be the lowest risk for them, they should be paying more for car insurance because their physical deterioration turn them into high risk drivers.

This issue could be debated and discussed and pulled apart, argued for and against charging senior citizens more for car insurance and setting an age at which this should happen for whatever reasons are decided. The question, however, remains. Can a specific age be determined at which senior citizens should be charged more for car insurance?



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