The idea of flying cars has been around for decades, but only recently has the discussion gotten serious. Several companies have announced plans for flying cars. As with autonomous vehicles, the questions that arise are less about technology and more about concerns regarding insurance, safety and regulations.
Airbus is planning to conduct flight tests this year. The company is pitching its flying vehicles as a way to beat traffic in congested cities.
PAL-V, a Dutch company, is now taking reserve orders for its flying car. The expected price for the PAL-V Liberty Pioneer is $599,000.
Terrafugia is working on the TF-X, its flying car. The website says that a projected delivery date is currently unavailable.
AeroMobil says its planning to start taking orders for its flying car sometime this year.
Uber is also working on flying cars. The ride-sharing company envisions a future of on-demand air transportation.
Flying cars present some obvious safety issues. Adding more directions (up and down) makes driving more complicated. Running out of fuel can be an inconvenience on land, but it’s a disaster in the air. Crashes become much more severe when they involve plummeting to the earth.
In its paper on flying cars, Uber admits that the rate of fatalities per passenger mile is twice as high for relevant flights (Federal Aviation Regulation Part 135 operations) than it is for privately operated vehicles. However, Uber also asserts that the rate can be improved for vertical take-off and landing aircraft like what it proposes.
Emerging technology could help. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that automatic braking technology reduced the incidence of rear-end crashes by 40 percent, and Business Insider explains why self-driving cars will be safer than cars operated by humans here. Similar technology could make flying cars safer in the future.
Although the designs for flying cars vary, they’re generally made to drive on roads like regular cars and fly. This leads to questions about how they will be regulated—as cars, as planes, or as something else? There are also issues of flight path and airstrip requirements.
PAL-V addresses some of these concerns on its website. The company says it is developing its flying car in compliance with regulations in the United States and Europe. Eventually, the company wants to certify its vehicles in every country in the world. To operate a PAL-V vehicle, individuals need both a driver’s license and a pilot’s license, and the recommended runway length is 900 feet.
This is already a difficult time for car insurers in many ways. Auto accidents are currently on the rise. Property Casualty 360° points to several causes, including more drivers on the road and more distractions. On top of this, technologically advanced cars are leading to more expensive repair costs.
Flying cars—with their safety risks and high cost—present similar insurance difficulties.
Again, PAL-V has taken steps to address this issue. On its website, the company says it is working with insurance companies to ensure that insurance is available when their flying cars release.
If flying cars are to take off, issues of safety, regulation and insurance will require a serious look. Among other things, insurers will require a nimble, adaptable policy administration system to facilitate online insurance sales and mobile/chatbot facilitated policyholder services. After all, those who buy flying cars will never be satisfied with old-school insurance transactions! Request a Silvervine insurance software demo to learn more.
The FedNat Insured Web is a great tool for our insureds!
They like having a centralized location to view policy info, make payments, upload policy documents, and elect to become paperless to receive a discount.
The insureds also can file a First Notice of Loss for a claim and access exiting claim info. Silvervine recently enhanced the site which allows insureds to upload policy documents directly to their policy. The uploaded docs go directly into our workflows and save a lot of manual effort on our part.
From my visits with agents, the agents appreciate the app for the amount of time saved on having to download and attach photos directly to the policy.
The app can also reduce the amount of staff required for a busy office to fulfill underwriting requests for photos.
When training agents they are amazed at how quickly the photos attach directly to the policy. After taking photos using the app and before they make it back to their desk, the photo is already attached to the policy. They also like the ability to attach additional photos for pre-existing damage.
Customer Service is seeing an improvement with retention as the text message definitely triggers phone calls from insureds to make payments.
The insureds love the fact that we notify them on their phones because they state that sometimes they don’t receive their mail for various reasons.
The insureds are paying more attention to the texts then to their actual mail. We try to set all of our customers up on that option if we notice that they are not currently enrolled, as it builds great customer relations as well as retention.
As a company we have adopted the use of Policy Scan for all our policies, and our agents have adopted the use of the app as well.
Not only is it easy to use, there is also no more worrying about losing photos, having to store photos or photos being attached to the wrong policy.
With Policy Scan we have increased efficiency in our workflow and reduced our exposure on the risk.
Silvervine’s core administration solutions easily handles multiple carriers within multiple states, including accounting, payment processing, immediate policy issuance and endorsements.
What started out writing one product, one line in one state has now grown into mulitple products, multiple lines and writing in multiple states. We have over $95 million in annualized premium in-force and we expect to grow by 20% during the next year all serviced by Silvervine.
Silvervine was our insurance software system of choice when we started the company in 2006. Silvervine enabled us to begin business within a few months of licensing the company. Today, we are one of the top 20 homeowner’s writers in Texas and SIlvervine’s solutions have been an integral part of our success.