A start-up called Trov has become one of the first companies in the world to offer insurance for the occupants of driverless cars and will team up with Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle unit, for services due to start next year
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Insurers, which generate about $700bn a year in motor insurance premiums, see driverless cars as a source of huge disruption as the number of accidents and the route to market could both change rapidly. Rather than selling insurance policies to individuals, insurers may end up dealing directly with manufacturers or service providers. Trov’s deal follows that model. The company will provide insurance for journeys on Waymo’s car-hailing service, which is set to launch in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2018. It will cover passengers for medical expenses, lost property and trip interruption. The premiums will be paid by Waymo. Trov will not cover the cost of any damage to the vehicle that might result from an accident, or damage to other vehicles. That will be covered by Waymo’s other insurance policies. Shaun Stewart, Waymo’s director of operations, said: “Innovative technology needs innovative partners. Trov is pioneering a cutting-edge approach to insurance that’s ideal for ride-sharing because it’s customised for every trip.”Trov’s insurance will be underwritten by German reinsurance company Munich Re. This is Trov’s first foray into the world of motor insurance. The company, founded in 2012 by investor and entrepreneur Scott Walchek, has in the past focused on insurance for individual items. It offers item-by-item insurance, for whatever duration the customer chooses. To date, the company has raised almost $100m in funding. In a LinkedIn post on Tuesday, Mr Walchek said: “It’s critical for the future of insurance to keep up with the future of transportation. This future, enabled by ride-hailing and fuelled by consumer behaviour, is one where riding in a driverless car is an everyday, normal activity — a completely unexplored territory in the insurance industry."
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