Lloyd's of London have been ready and waiting to insure autonomous aeroplanes and ships for years, but regulators aren't ready to let them.
Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics, and other technologies are all evolving and improving processes/services faster than we could have expected. There are countless financial industries ready, or gearing up, to meet this disruption alongside Lloyd's; insurance, legal, audit and financial advice being just some of them. And yet the regulators are hesitant.
Regulation is a slow process with a reputation (and responsibility) for a measured approach. And wanting to be able to see the full picture in order to respond properly isn't necessarily a bad thing. But - as my regular iOS updates on my iPhone show me - technology is rarely at its final iteration before it is rolled out. Attempting to regulate tech in Financial Services is becoming more like battling the many headed beast - and each time you set the standards for one head, another (slightly different) one grows in its place.
In light of disruption and innovation, regulation will have to become a more flexible and malleable way of governing how Financial Services operate. And whilst conversations with industry heads, regulatory bodies and tech innovators are happening - they need to be happening more frequently and transparently, on an official basis.
Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyds, says the insurance giant has been ready to insure autonomous vehicles such as self-flying planes for two decades. Regulators have proven unwilling to green-light the technology, while the public remains wary of completely handing over the cockpit to computers. “We’re all set [to issue] insurance for autonomous planes,” Beale told Quartz. “The regulators just haven’t pressed the button even though the technology has been around for 20 years.”