Google/Alphabet subsidiary Waymo and Swiss Re, one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, have announced a research collaboration aimed at developing new risk assessment methodologies, which they say would provide guidance for the insurance industry in properly assessing AV risk.

Autonomous driving technology will lead to a significant shift in risk rating factors, from human-driver-centric to vehicle-centric. Furthermore, the companies say traditional actuarial analyses are retrospective in nature and will not be effective at measuring risks associated with autonomous driving technology due to the sparsity of historical collision data.

Waymo’s collaboration with Swiss Re aims to address some of these challenges and represents a first step forward towards building new insurance models to facilitate and accelerate the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles. This collaboration may also reveal new or enhanced approaches to evaluating safety, which may lead to continued improvements to Waymo’s safety methodologies, while also providing the public with a new, more intuitive lens to evaluate AV technology.

Pranav Pasricha, Global Head of P&C Solutions at Swiss Re, said: “Our vision is to make the world more resilient and help close the protection gap. By entering into a partnership with Waymo, we continue our work on enabling insurance of autonomous vehicles and thereby contributing to creating safer roads. This is of great importance to the industry, which very soon needs to tackle a big paradigm shift in its largest risk pool of motor insurance.”

Tilia Gode, Waymo’s Head of Risk & Insurance, said: “As autonomous driving technology companies like Waymo progress in their mission to make roadways safer, we expect there to be fewer claims data to feed existing insurance underwriting and actuarial models. This calls for an evolution of the traditional methods and the use of new data in innovative ways. Both Waymo and Swiss Re are leaders in their fields and uniquely positioned to help solve these problems for our respective industries.”