Aviva Canada’s recently announced ride-sharing specific auto insurance policy has received regulatory approval from Ontario’s insurance regulator. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario has greenlit the policy and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says the coverage is the first of its kind in Canada.
The approval by the FSCO is a major victory for Uber as it continues to seek regulatory approval in Ontario, which has not yet been granted. Aviva’s ride-sharing auto insurance policy is not geared specifically towards Uber, but it has arrived as a big help to the company’s aspirations in Ontario. Toronto recently voted to regulate Uber, but those changes have not come into action yet and the UberX service still operate illegally in Canada’s largest province.
Interestingly, the FSCO’s decision to greenlight Aviva Canada’s policy means Uber drivers are able to get legal insurance coverage but are still operating illegally in the eyes of the law. At the moment Aviva has no plans to expand its policy to other markets, although Edmonton’s vote to legalize Uber last week could lead to the insurance giant expanding its product.
Aviva says it is fulfilling a customer need and filling a space in the market.
“There are a lot of people out there trying to make some extra money, and that’s a great thing, but they’re doing it without the appropriate coverage for themselves and for their passengers as well,” said spokesman Glenn Cooper.
Progressive Conservative Tim Hudak has been a supporter of Uber in Ontario and he is attempting to push through a bill that would see ride-sharing companies become legal in the province. He welcomed the news that Aviva Canada’s policy has been accepted by regulatory bodies.
“The longer we delay on an overall ride-sharing legislative framework the less help it is for cabbies, for Uber drivers, for customers and I’m worried that situation, that tension, is going to escalate if the province does not act,” he said.
The taxi industry has not been so welcoming of Uber and has staged numerous protests against the service, for what they see is unfair and illegal competition. Aviva’s policy has drawn criticism from taxi industry groups, despite the second largest insurance provider in Canada pointing out that it does not endorse Uber or any ride-sharing service.
“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,’ Toronto Taxi Alliance president Gail Souter and Canadian Taxicab Association president Marc Andre Way wrote in a letter to Aviva.