Robot insurance

Finding cost-effective robot insurance can be a difficult process.

Scott Eckert, CEO of Rethink Robotics thus suggests ways to obtain affordable robot insurance.

Understand the Difference

Insurance companies need to understand the difference between a traditional robot and the latest models.  Older robots are not able to analyse the environment.  This means high risk. Traditional industrial robots have to be cage-protected.  However, the latest robots are sensor driven.

Rethink Robotics created Baxter, a robot designed for use with human workers. Insurance agents were invited to a demonstration of Baxter at work.  He functioned alongside human co-workers. Baxter has human detection capabilities. Furthermore, he is also able to sense possible collisions in the workplace.

As a result of this demonstration, Rethink Robotics was able to therefore obtain secure,  liability insurance protection.


Robotic makers and insurers should work together and thereby develop regulations for the industry. By developing rules, the industry will exercise certain risk management principles. The consequence is that the stricter the regulations, the cheaper the insurance premiums will be.

Risk Assessment

The evaluation of a risk depends on its frequency and severity. Thus assessing risks for robot insurance is difficult.
Robot insurance risk estimates are challenging due to: –

* the technical intricacy of these devices;
* insufficient data regarding risks and accidents;
* the unpredictability regarding liabilities of the manufacturer and end-user of robots.

Robot manufacturers have experienced problems obtaining robot insurance. A Europe-based company told Robotics Business Review that as a result, a project designed to test a humanoid robot in an urban environment had to be abandoned.

Certain insurance companies have voiced concerns about the size and type of risk a malfunctioning autonomous robot could pose. The result would be damage to property and hence people in an urban setting.

In conclusion, more and more robots will be in our work and home environments in the future.  These machines are going to present challenges for insurers in spite of efforts by designers and safety experts.