Over the past decade there has been an explosion of technological, economic and cultural innovation, dramatically changing how we do business and live our lives. Many of these developments have disrupted the traditional approach to insurance. As a Miami insurance law firm, we stay up-to-date on trends that impact our industry. From the gig economy to driverless cars and the internet of things, insurance companies are racing to find creative, cost-effective solutions that match the innovation of today.
Essentially, the “gig economy” is a labor market based on short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs. Current examples include ride-sharing apps, food delivery services, and online marketplaces such as Airbnb and Rover. The underlying principle in the gig or “sharing” economy is that individuals can provide or obtain a paid personal service while operating outside of conventional business regulations and employment law.
Because the agreements for these services do not fall exclusively into either the personal or commercial categories, insurance companies have had to determine whether personal liability plans will cover such services. Many insurers have responded to the challenge by excluding quasi-commercial uses from personal policies and replacing them with specific add-on options. For example, in the context of a standard personal auto policy insurance companies are requiring additional commercial coverage to provide protection when driving for a rideshare service.
While the majority of “autonomous” cars today are still partially under driver control, the challenge for insurers will be the issue of who is responsible for collisions involving automated vehicles. As cars continue to evolve into complete independence, insurance policies will likely shift more of the liability to the manufacturer, perhaps with some shared-cost component distributed among the riders.
The Interconnection of Things
The interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects (phones, speakers, security systems, to name a few), enabling them to send and receive data, has had a huge impact on our everyday lives. The Internet of Things (“IoT”) has introduced a whole new opportunity for both consumer protection and risk. On the plus side, individuals can use their interconnected devices to improve home security, become healthier, and drive more safely. On the minus side, hyper-connectivity increases the risk of hacking, identify theft and equipment malfunction.
Some insurance companies are taking advantage of the IoT by offering discounts to customers who link their smart devices to their polices. To mitigate some of the risks, insurers can educate their policyholders on issues such as network security, warning signs of a possible breach, and what to do in the case of device failure.
Let a Miami Insurance Law Firm Help You
If you would like to learn more about how the insurance industry is responding to the challenges of today or you need assistance with your own insurance coverage dispute, we welcome you to contact Ver Ploeg & Marino at (305) 577-3996.Share