HLDI: Volvo Collision Avoidance Tech Helping Lower Claim Rates

Another study from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) of an in-car technology that helps prevent crashes shows that it can lead to significant drop in the number of insurance claims filed by owners.

Forward collision avoidance technology employs automatic braking to help drivers avoid rear-ending each other and “everyday crashes caused by inattentive drivers … who don’t react quickly enough to emergency situations,” said Matthew Moore, a HLDI vice president and the study’s director.

The Institute studied insurance claims numbers under different forms of coverage for Volvo S60s and XC60s that had the City Safety system, finding that the technology cut down on how often claims were filed and how large they were.

According to the HLDI, there was an estimated 15 percent drop in the frequency of property damage insurance claims for XC60s and a 16 percent drop for S60s compared with other models in their classes.
The percentage is smaller than those found in another HLDI study that was conducted in 2011 and also those in another study from Swedish insurer Volvia. Moore said that the latest results are still “robust.”

“Although the estimated benefits in the current analysis aren’t as large as our first study indicated, the data still show that you are far less likely to be in a crash in a Volvo with City Safety than in a vehicle without it,” he said in the latest HLDI newsletter.

For collision claims, the reduction in claim frequency was 20 percent for XC60s and 9 percent for S60s. Claim sizes for both the S60 and XC60 were hundreds of dollars smaller than collision claims filed by owners of other similar models.

Bodily injury claims were also filed at lesser rates and was 18 percent lower for XC60s and 33 percent lower for S60s compared with similar models.

However, the average loss per property damage claim for S60s was 13 percent higher than that for other similar models. The Institute said that it was likely that fewer “low-cost and midrange” insurance claims filed for crashes that City Safety most prevents, like low-speed fender-benders, combined with slightly more higher-cost insurance claims to add to the overall average claim size for S60s.

Last summer, the HLDI studied similar driver-assisting systems from multiple automakers and broke down each system’s claims figures between Mercedes, Volvo and Acura models.

The Institute also studied Volvo’s City Safety system in a 2011 study.

Safety Systems Gaining Traction Among All Models

Such systems are gaining popularity in the traffic safety world. Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that driver-assisting systems — from electronic stability control to forward collision detection — “be deployed” in both passenger and commercial fleets in the U.S.

Twenty-nine percent of 2013 model vehicles have forward collision warning systems as an option, 12 percent of which employ an autonomous system that will automatically brake when a vehicle is approaching too close to another’s back bumper.

The Institute provided a listing of models where such warning systems are standard:
–Acura ZDX
–BMW 760i
–Honda Crosstour 4-wheel drive
–Hyundai Equus
–Toyota Land Cruiser

The forward collision avoidance system comes standard in Mercedes G-class models and Volvo’s S60, S80, XC60 and XC70 models, while it is optional for Subaru Legacy and Outback models.

The Institute said that it is “gathering data” on blind spot detection, parking assist and backup camera systems.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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