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Samsung Insurance introduces policy for self-driving test vehicles

Samsung Insurance introduces policy for self-driving test vehicles

Posted November. 06, 2017 07:59,   

Updated November. 06, 2017 08:20


A self-driving car driver was killed in May last year when his car rammed into a tractor-trailer in the United States. At the time, Tesla said Autopilot, the vehicle’s self-driving function, failed to sense the white surface of the large trailer’s side. However, controversy over the cause of the accident continued for more than a year. Expectations for commercialization of self-driving vehicles are running high, but cause of an accident, who will be held responsible, and rules on compensation remain uncertain.

Amid this situation, Samsung Fire Insurance & Marine Insurance introduced an automobile insurance policy for self-driving vehicles being tested for the first time in Korea on Sunday.

For starters, automobiles eligible for the new insurance policy include self-driving test vehicles, but they will be gradually expanded to include other vehicles. As a result, the government, local governments, and electronics and telecom companies are expected to buy the policy when they test-operate self-driving cars.

Thus far, operators had to purchase an auto insurance policy for ordinary automobiles being tested for their self-driving vehicles, and there were no clear-cut rules on compensation for damage. There was also intense controversy over whether a person sitting in the driver’s seat but is not involved in driving the vehicle during self-driving mode can be considered a motorist. The new insurance product has addressed such ambiguity and offers special contract on compensation (for damage) due to vehicle test operation, which includes rules on insurance payment and other issues.

A buyer of Samsung’s new insurance policy can receive insurance payment immediately irrespective of the cause of an accident. If an accident occurs when a vehicle is in self-driving mode, the operator of the vehicle is also considered a beneficiary and will be paid 100 million won (around 90,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation. When the operator is injured, he or she will be paid up to 30 million won (25,900 dollars) depending on the severity of injury. If the vehicle causes death in an accident, the policy will pay at least 150 million won (134,000 dollars) per person. If the car causes physical damage to a third party, the policy can pay more than 20 million won (17,900 dollars). Insurance premium for the new policy is 102 percent of that for the existing auto insurance policy for test vehicles, as the premiums are pretty much the same.

Sung-Min Park min@donga.com