Rideshare companies like Uber scored another win on Tuesday when the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) approved a 'first of a kind' coverage for drivers that carry paying passengers in their own vehicles.
Aviva Canada said the coverage, now available for Ontario drivers, is a simple addition to an Aviva-insured personal auto policy. Aviva said it will be working with regulators across the country to make the solution available in other provinces in the coming months, opening the door for brokers to sell the product.
The coverage will protect ride-sharing drivers from the moment they initiate looking for passengers through to collecting and dropping off those passengers. Eligibility for coverage will be based on some simple underwriting criteria that will include, for example, maximum of eight occupants (including driver), driver licensed for a minimum of six years, no other commercial use, and other requirements.
The coverage will be available for part-time drivers who spend up to 20 hours a week participating in ride-sharing. The cost for the additional coverage will be calculated using factors such as time spent ride-sharing, area driven and driving record, Aviva said.
Greg Somerville, president & CEO of Aviva Canada, said: "We have had significant interest from brokers who are getting contacted by their customers asking for the Aviva ride-sharing solution."
Somerville said Aviva takes no position on the regulatory or public policy questions raised by ride-sharing.
On the same day as the Aviva announcement, Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) president Gail Souter and Canadian Taxicab Association (CTA) president Marc Andre Way, requested that Aviva release the number of such endorsements actually sold: "As we have been informed by a number of insurance professionals, the fact that a commercial endorsement is available does not mean any UberX drivers will purchase it.
"We are very concerned that an Aviva announcement that 'an approved product exists and is available for purchase' will be misconstrued by politicians to mean '20,000 illegal UberX drivers are now insured,” the associations said.
With the so called ‘sharing economy’ seeing such a boom at present, Ontario is set to consider a bill that would make the likes of Uber, Lyft, AirBnB and other services legal. However this is not likely to happen until later this year and any such bill is not guaranteed to be passed into law.