By: Luke Jones, Published on July 7, 2016 06:16 PM, Last Update on July 8, 2016 07:05 AM
Ontario, through the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), has approved commercial fleet coverage for ride-sharing, announcing the regulatory change on Thursday. The FSCO also approved a new product by Intact Insurance that will let Uber drivers become fully covered in the province moving forward.
Intact’s new policy follows a similar Aviva Canada product that was launched earlier in the year and removes one of the major stumbling blocks preventing Uber and similar companies from operating legally in Ontario.
The release of the coverage means Intact Insurance, the largest P&C carrier in the province, will offer commercial auto insurance to Uber drivers that will cover them and passenger. This coverage will be in place from the moment a driver opens the app and makes themselves available to accept a ride request, until the passenger exits the vehicle.
In a similar model to Aviva Canada’s release in February, Intact will offer the new coverage as an addition to an existing personal auto insurance policy. This means that when the Uber driver is operating their vehicle for personal use (i.e. without a passenger) then they will be covered under the normal terms of their personal policy.
The release of the product and Ontario’s decision to approve auto insurance for TNC companies means that Uber has a clearer path to legality in the province. Regulatory approval is still needed in most municipalities, but the obstacles preventing regulations are lessening. The government in Ontario says companies are now free to develop insurance products around ride-sharing:
“Insurers can now develop insurance policies for purchase by ride-share companies,” the provincial government stated. “This closes the gap in auto insurance coverage for those drivers carrying paying passengers through ride-sharing services.”
Drivers who work for Uber will need to inform their broker or agent that they drive for the ride-sharing giant. Brokers will then inform the driver of the Intact product or a policy from another carrier, ensuring the customer can be fully covered while operating their vehicle with passengers.
Ontario is following the lead of Alberta, which decided to approve insurance options for ride-sharing companies late last month. Intact Insurance was the first to debut a product in Alberta, offering its coverage in the province from July 1.