Autonomous driving: ‘product liability’ or just liability attaching to the product?

The Government’s consultation about compulsory insurance arrangements associated with fully automated driving remains open until 9 September. It states that: “Our proposal is to extend compulsory motor insurance to cover product liability to give motorists cover when they have handed full control over to the vehicle (ie they are out-of-the-loop). And, that motorists (or their insurers) rely on courts to apply the existing rules of product liability – under the Consumer Protection Act, and negligence – under the common law, to determine who should be responsible.”

This blog looks at whether a ‘product liability’ insurance offering could meet the policy aims of ensuring (a) use of vehicles continues to be covered by insurance and (b) claims by injured road users continue to be adequately protected and handled quickly.

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Vnuk Q&A video

Following the European Court of Justice ruling, the UK Government will soon have to change the rules about motor insurance law.

To help provide an insight into the consequences of the Vnuk ruling, BLM’s director of policy and government affairs, Alistair Kinley has spoken to Post content director, Jonathan Swift.

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A Vnuk is not just for Motor…

As we head towards Christmas with the reminder that a gift of a pet is “for life” and “not just for Christmas” a similar warning might be applied to those considering the 2016 “to do” list for UK general insurance. Continue reading

One year after ECJ Vnuk judgment

4 September 2015 marks the first anniversary of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s Vnuk judgment and whilst there remains much discussion there is little certainty as to how the RTA can best be brought into line with European law. At best it can be said that options are starting to emerge but there is at present little consensus around the likely legislative outcome that will be preferred.

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Vnuk – constructive solutions to minimise claims risks

I thought Alistair Kinley made a very valid point, in his earlier article of 13 August, calling for constructive solutions to the Vnuk problem. There needs to be a balance drawn between the protection of victims of accidents arising out of motor vehicles and the potential scope, post-Vnuk, of compulsory third party motor insurance (TPMI). Notably, TPMI will be required to cover use of vehicles, off-road, that may result in a contrived or potentially unworkable insurance solution.

Motorsport is an obvious example. At present, motorsport events that occur off-road are not subject to TPMI. Authorised motorsports events are licensed by the sport’s governing body through permits that extends public liability (PL) and personal accident cover for participants and event organisers. However this PL cover does not cover driver-to-driver liability. With this PL risk, post-Vnuk, potentially transferring over to a TPMI risk, not only does this give rise to some interesting liability questions, such as, how does one assess liability in a driver-to-driver collision when racing, but also fundamentally, with unquantified exposure, will there will be any appetite from motor insurers to underwrite the sport in the first instance?

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