Fiat Chrysler will recall 1.4 million vehicles in the United States to install software to prevent hackers from gaining remote control of the engine, steering or other systems. The recall comes just days after reports that cybersecurity researchers used a wireless connection to turn off a Jeep Cherokee’s engine as it drove, increasing concerns about the safety of Internet-enabled vehicles. The researchers used Fiat Chrysler’s telematics system to break into a volunteer’s Cherokee being driven on the highway and issue commands to the engine, steering and brakes. While hackers had previously demonstrated the ability to tamper with onboard systems using a physical connection to the car’s diagnostic system, these researchers were able to control the Jeep Cherokee remotely.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it would investigate whether Fiat Chrysler’s solution to upgrade software was enough to protect consumers from hackers.
What It Means to Agents: For at least the last five years, technological changes have redefined the nature of insured risk, including the scope of liability exposure and how insurance policy provisions and claims practices will need to adjust. As such, PIA agencies should be absolutely sure that they have received written assessments and explanations from each of their carriers on the various policies under which such evolving risk may arise. Such bulletins must provide the agency with complete guidance of how each carrier’s policy responds (or not) in claims situations.