Insurance firm to offer coverage for part-time ridesharing drivers in February
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, January 6, 2016 12:13PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 6, 2016 4:51PM EST
A Canadian insurance company says it will begin offering policies to certain part-time rideshare drivers starting in February.
Aviva Canada said in a statement Wednesday that it will offer collision and personal injury liability coverage to Uber X drivers and users of other platforms who spend no more than 20 hours per week transporting passengers in their personal vehicles.
But there are no details on how much the coverage will cost.
“The cost for the additional coverage will equate to a small portion of the income earned by the driver, calculated using factors such as time spent ride-sharing, area driven and driving record,” Aviva Canada said.
The company says eligibility for the coverage will depend on criteria such as the maximum number of passengers a vehicle can carry, how long the driver has been licensed, and whether driver engages in any other type of commercial activity with their vehicle.
Uber has said that all drivers of all services that use its platform are covered for liabilities of up to $5 million, but that drivers should check with their personal insurance providers before starting to work with Uber.
The firm estimates there are about 16,000 people offering their personal vehicles for transport in the GTA-area.
A rival insurance firm, Intact Financial Corp., said this fall that it had entered into a partnership with Uber to develop coverage policies for drivers that use the platform.
Last fall, Toronto City Council voted to amend the Municipal Code to include black-car service Uber Black and SUV limousine-style service UberXL in its regulatory framework. But the amendment essentially made ridesharing services such as UberX illegal.
The City of Toronto says UberX will remain in violation of the city’s bylaws “until council changes the regulations permitting vehicles other than licensed taxicabs and limousines.”
Ward 7 City Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti said news that insurers are preparing customized insurance packages for UberX drivers proves the coverage Uber says it offers to its drivers was not sufficient, as Mammoliti has been arguing for quite some time.
“If it is something that is legitimate, then it indicates to everybody that a few of us were actually right with respect to (UberX drivers) not being insured. If these drivers will be insured then that’s a good thing.”
But Mammoliti said UberX must be included in the city’s regulatory framework to become legal.
The insurance announcement from Aviva was met with praise by former Ontario PC leader and Niagara West- Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak, who has drafted a private members bill which would establish formal regulations for ridesharing apps and other “sharing-economy” applications such as AirBNB.
Kelsey Ingram, spokesperson for Finance Minister Charles Sousa wrote in a statement that any new insurance product offered for rideshare drivers must first be approved by a provincial regulator.
"When it comes to auto insurance and ride-sharing applications, our top concern is for the safety of drivers and their passengers. New auto insurance products, such as the one Aviva announced today, have to be filed with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario for review and approval. We are confident that once this filing takes place, FSCO will review Aviva’s new product in a timely fashion to ensure that drivers and passengers are protected."
FSCO spokesperson Malon Edwards said the agency does not comment on “specifics of filings or proposals” from insurance companies on new rates or products.