Ride-share insurance space to heat up as Uber given legal status

Ride-share insurance space to heat up as Uber given legal status

Ride-share insurance space to heat up as Uber given legal status

As ride-share services such as Uber are legalized across Canada, participating drivers will need increased access to ride-share insurance products. Currently, the only provider of such coverage is Aviva Canada, which offers a liability add-on for personal auto insurance policies for part-time ride share drivers. But, with Uber recently receiving legal status in Toronto, the carrier says it’s looking to up its product offerings.

On Tuesday, the city’s council granted to officially allow the ride-sharing company to operate, requiring that drivers take out a minimum $2-million liability policy.

“Our product at the moment is only aimed at people driving 20 hours per week, but we are already working on an expanded product and we are in conversation with some provincial regulators about that, and looking into markets beyond Ontario,” says Jason Storah, executive vice president of Aviva Canada.  “We’ve always looked at this from the perspective that we wanted to provide an insurance option that was clear.”

The carrier recently announced it has developed its ride-share product for the Quebec market, and has filed for regulatory approval in the province, as well as with regulators in Alberta.

Storah maintains that while Aviva doesn’t take an official side between ride-share companies and governments, they “think it makes sense for an insurer to offer a product, if and when they engage in it.” He adds that it will be interesting to see if Uber’s new legal status will lead to more drivers in the Toronto market, or existing drivers taking on longer hours.

As for additional insurers entering the ride-share auto coverage space, Storah says he hopes that’s the case: “The more competition, the more options there are for customers, the better,” he says, adding that it’s a positive for provincial regulators as well. “It’s good for FSCO in Ontario to say that Ontarians have more than one option for ride-share insurance. That just feels right from a customer choice perspective. The best thing for customers is to have choice.”

“We’ve taken the view that ride sharing is part of the sharing economy, it’s not going away despite what some people want. We think the sharing economy is only going to get bigger and stronger and deeper and wider, so to be actively engaged in finding insurance solutions just feels like the obviously thing to do.”