Dutch insurance company inks first self-driving car policy

Artist’s impression: Amber One

Centraal Beheer, the car insurance unit of financial services group Achmea, has become the first company in the Netherlands to cover shared self-driving cars, the company said on Wednesday.

Achmea’s subsidiaries Centraal Beheer and Interpolis insure 2.3 million vehicles between them, making the group the country’s largest car insurer.

The arrival of self-driving cars has turned the car insurance market around, management board member Robert Otto said in a statement. What is clear is that the days of setting insurance premiums by accident history are over, he said.

Achmea reached agreement on Tuesday afternoon to insure the Amber One, a completely electric self-driving vehicle which is to come into production in 2021. Amber is a start-up company based at Eindhoven university’s High Tech Campus.

The Amber One is seen as an ideal shared car because it will be equipped with software which determines where and when demand for the car is highest. But this bring problems in particular with determining whether the driver, the developer of the software or the manufacturer are liable.

Under terms of Achmea’s agreement with Amber, self-driving car insurance will be developed alongside the car itself.

Damages are certain to be higher due to electronics and software used in the car, Otto said. A simple collision with a lamp post will far more expensive with a self-driving car than with a traditional car, he said. ‘We already have that experience with electric cars.’ The Amber One will be fully electric but the parts will be readily interchangeable.

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