IBC concerned about Uber’s lack of insurance protection

February 26th, 2015 by admin

In previous articles, we've discussed some of the insurance and safety concerns the ride-sharing service Uber has brought up. We noted that the Insurance Bureau of Canada has said that Uber drivers' personal insurance could be invalid if the driver hasn't notified their insurer that they're using their car for profit.

Now Uber is preparing to launch in Toronto, but as Betsy Powell explains in the City Hall Bureau, the insurance industry's concerns regarding the ride-sharing company haven't suddenly subsided. 

Many insurers don't believe that Uber offers adequate insurance protection. There's murky territory as well in terms of regulation and what is required of drivers, as Powell explains.

Whereas licensed Toronto taxis need commercial insurance, which is a "more comprehensive and costly form of coverage than the personal insurance carried by most drivers," according to Powell, it's less clear whether UberX drivers should be required to have commercial insurance.

Xavier Van Chau of Uber Canada has said that if an accident occurs during a trip, anyone involved, including passengers and pedestrians, would be "well covered" by the company's commercial auto insurance on top of insurance the driver may be carrying.

However, Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, expanded on his industry's concern:

If there is a commercial policy in place, "then there's no problem," he said, adding "it's like being in a regular cab." But, "if they're operating their vehicle as a cab and it's not insured the way it should be, then there's likely going to be some challenges," Karageorgos explained.

In January, two UberX drivers in Montreal had their cars impounded by police, Powell reports. 

Tammy Robbinson, a spokeswoman for the city of Toronto, said to Powell that Canada's largest city does not have the power to do the same in the case of bylaw infractions. One thing is clear, though, Uber's expansion into other Canadian cities will continue to spark debate and likely not go unchallenged.