The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT – the interconnection of everyday objects via the internet) raises important issues relating to security and hacking. In particular, the potential for civil claims against manufacturers resulting from a failure to provide any or sufficient security is not known.
The 2016 Queen’s Speech included a “Modern Transport Bill” which was intended to set out the compulsory arrangements for insuring automated driving on UK roads. This title has been shelved and today the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill was introduced in Parliament to address this issue.
The latest global recall relates to the Galaxy Note 7 which, just over a week ago, was recalled by Samsung after reports emerged that the device could explode during or after charging. On the T-Mobile website, as at 9 September 2016, T-Mobile confirms that Samsung is recalling the Galaxy Note 7 due to “battery safety concerns”. T-Mobile is clear about the risks involved in using the Galaxy and report that the number of fires reported globally as of 1 September, were 35. In the context of the number sold worldwide this is a tiny percentage but nevertheless such failure could be catastrophic and as a supplier of the product, T-Mobile has sensibly taken the precaution of providing a frank statement about the risks involved in continuing to use the product.
Today I read about a new Amazon product – “Amazon Dash”. The article was accompanied by a photo of a bathroom, specifically focussing on a roll of toilet paper. Intrigued I read on. Far from the mental image this conjured up for me, the article was about a unique product which enables the user to hit, what I would term, a “panic button.” This does not summon up a fully clad armed response team but rather a delivery of toilet rolls, dish washer powder or washing detergent, all within 24 hours.
Each Amazon Dash button is linked to a specific product and there are (according to the article) 150 products available. The user purchases the button and away they go. I am told this has worked well in the USA and is on its way to be launched in the UK.
Post reports that “Insurers could face becoming “irrelevant” in the age of driverless cars according to a survey of drivers” – see article here.
The rationale behind this seems to be that, according to a LexisNexis study, a significant proportion of drivers expect their cover to become cheaper (or that they may not need insurance at all) once driverless cars become mainstream and, as a result, driving safety improves.
mHealth applications for smartphones are increasingly employed in everyday life, providing information on treatment options, tips on managing illness, and helping to monitor conditions from high blood pressure to diabetes. The market is growing to such an extent that it has been estimated that by next year some 500 million people will be using healthcare apps.
It’s no secret that technology is moving at a faster pace than ever before but are insurers able to keep pace with the emerging risks associated with the adoption of new technologies?
Households, vehicles and smart phones rely on new technology obtained from manufacturers abroad via lengthening supply chains and new legislation opens up potential liabilities for all involved. One must question whether traditional policies and exclusions are fit for purpose.