Auto-insurance industry changing because ride-sharing ‘is here to stay’

Auto-insurance industry changing because ride-sharing ‘is here to stay’ - image

TORONTO – Canada’s auto-insurance industry is starting to catch up to a new ride-sharing world.

Toronto-based Aviva insurance has announced a new insurance policy that will fill “gaps” in coverage for drivers who partake in ride-sharing, like Uber drivers.

“When they  talk about 16,000 active Uber drivers in the GTA… This isn’t a fad, this is here to stay,” Aviva spokesperson Glenn Cooper said.

It’s the first policy of its kind, according to Steve Kee, a spokesperson for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. But it soon won’t be the only one.

Last September, Intact Financial Corp. said it is working with Uber to create policies tailored for the service.

WATCH: Intact insurance working with Uber on new products for ridesharing

Kee said the new policies have formed relatively quickly. Questions first started cropping up on the issue after the Alberta government said in July that it had determined the policies do not meet the requirements of the province’s Insurance Act.

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“This has been a very fascinating file to follow in 2015-2016,” he said.

Kee said the IBC has also presented legislative recommendations to MLAs in Alberta and MPPs in Ontario regarding ride-sharing insurance, but there’s been no action taken yet.

READ MORE: Edmonton judge overturns decision; Uber driver heading to trial

The insurance issue is just one hot-button issue involving Uber. Taxi drivers around the world have protested ride-sharing apps like Uber over licencing issues.

“This isn’t us saying Uber is better or taxis are better… but what we’re saying is this is clearly here to stay, and there’s a need for coverage,” Cooper said.

The coverage comes as an addition to a personal policy, not a commercial policy, and with it, ride sharing-drivers will be covered up to 20 hours a week.

The coverage is slated to hit the market in early February, once the Financial Service Commissions of Ontario gives it the official greenlight.

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