Insurers to work with tech firms on risks from drones, driverless cars

LONDON (Reuters) - The World Economic Forum is bringing insurers, tech firms and governments together to find ways to tackle risks from new technology such as drones and driverless cars, it said on Thursday.

An aerosol drone flies during a training at LTFY drone training school on the outskirts of Beijing, China August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Tech firms have moved fast to develop new products, but assigning liability - who is responsible for any accidents or losses - is not always clear, the WEF said in a report.

Losses from technology-related crime can also be huge. A cyber attack on the U.S. Northeast electrical grid, for example, could cause economic losses as high as $222 billion, according to research carried out for the specialist Lloyd’s of London insurance market.

“New risks are emerging, and existing risks are becoming more complex,” the WEF report, written with consultants Oliver Wyman, said.

“The insurance industry will struggle to use its old playbook to address these emerging risks.”

Industry and government officials will look to share data and develop industry standards to make it easier to spot and tackle new risks, and also seek to work out where liabilities lie, the WEF said in a statement.

The initiative will develop at its flagship annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in Jan 2018, it said.

“Things are moving very, very rapidly”, Inga Beale, chief executive of Lloyd’s, one of the industry participants, said.

“The only way we think the whole world can get to grips with what’s happening out there is if we all work together.”

Industry participants also include insurers Allianz ALVG.DE and Swiss Re SRENH.S and tech firms Cisco CSCO.O and Hitachi 6756.T, along with senior officials from governments including the European Commission, India, Japan, United Kingdom and United States.

The WEF holds regional events around the world and publishes research on the global economy.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn. Editing by Jane Merriman