16:09 PM

American Family Insurance urges support, collaboration for autonomous vehicles

Company Vice President testifies before congressional subcommittee


American Family Vice President of Strategy Sam Geraci today addressed a congressional panel about the impacts of autonomous vehicles on the future of insurance.

Calling the development of autonomous vehicles possibly “the most consequential transportation issue of our time,” American Family Vice President of Strategy Sam Geraci today addressed a congressional panel about the impacts of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the future of insurance.

Geraci was one of several speakers testifying before the House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. The subcommittee will examine the insurance ramifications of AVs, including how insurance – including pricing, coverage and claims resolution – will likely change as autonomous vehicles become more prevalent.

While questions and challenges on the widespread use of autonomous vehicles remain, the potential benefits are enormous and worth pursuing in collaboration between insurers, auto manufacturers, government and consumers, Geraci said.

Autonomous vehicles can positively impact the environment. They can lead to increased mobility for people who are physically unable to drive. And, they have tremendous potential to save lives and prevent injuries.

“American Family fully supports Automated Driving System (ADS) innovation,” Geraci said, “and we are among the organizations to support ADS work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering and the Wisconsin Automated Proving Grounds. This work will benefit our policyholders, our communities and our environment.”

“The insurance industry is committed to supporting the development and deployment of vehicles that will lead to safer roads,” he said. “While we are incredibly optimistic about the promise of the technology to reduce fatalities and improve the safety of our nation's roadways, recent accidents with AVs have clearly underscored the need to better understand autonomous vehicle safety.”

Geraci raised other topics needing further research:

  • Consumer and insurance company access to data from autonomous vehicles – as the vehicles are in development and when they are in use on the road – to strengthen insurers’ ability to accurately price and underwrite products, and resolve claims.
  • Insurance requirements for drivers, or operators, of autonomous vehicles. American Family and the insurance industry believe state laws requiring minimum levels of insurance should remain for operators of autonomous vehicles in any situation when the operator is able to take control of the vehicle in any respect. Financial responsibility standards should also be developed for AV manufacturers to cover losses caused by vehicle software malfunction.
  • The evolution of insurance to address the likelihood of fleets of AVs used by ridesharing services needing expanded commercial insurance coverages.
  • Cybersecurity safeguards for autonomous vehicle systems, and insurance to protect consumers in hacking or breach situations.

American Family’s advocacy for autonomous vehicles is not limited to the federal level. Allie McGuire-Korte, an employee specializing in AV research, has testified before the Wisconsin Governor’s Steering Committee on Autonomous Vehicles, and has also worked with the Property and Casualty Advisory Council of the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance on this topic.

“Ultimately, the insurance industry supports the development of AV technology and should be a partner to technology companies, vehicle manufacturers, and regulators to promote safety on our roads,” Geraci said.

Read Sam Geraci's entire testimony. 


About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 311 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the internet or by phone. Web; Facebook; Twitter