Can the Insurance Industry Survive Driverless Cars?

The industry is bracing for upheaval. Allstate Chief Executive Officer Tom Wilson’s futuristic worst-case scenario for the business—he calls it The Jetsons—has automation cutting the costs of accidents dramatically. The number of vehicles on roads drops, too, because people sign up for car sharing or other transportation services instead of owning their own set of wheels. Auto insurance premiums plateau for a decade, then decline precipitously. “There will be fewer cars. There will be fewer accidents. And it will be safer,” he says. “When you’re as big as we are and insure 16 million households, it doesn’t take much of a degradation to be a real revenue issue for you. So we are focused on it.”