Electric scooter market presents commercial insurance opportunity

Published: September 30, 2019

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A new commercial insurance opportunity around organizations that supply electric scooters as a pay-as-you-go form of inner-city travel. According to A.M. Best Company Inc., the line of business is a growth market for insurance companies.

Daniel Heitlinger, financial analyst for the company, says electric scooters fall into the “micro mobility” category. While this is an ill-defined term, he says it usually includes so-called “last-mile” modes of transportation that help consumers complete a journey.

“This typically includes mopeds, community bikes, e-scooters, and other micro mobility programs,” said Heitlinger. “While the risks associated with micro mobility are not necessarily new, we believe that it will be a growing market for coverage. Specifically driving this trend is the introduction of commercial risks as companies like Bird and Lime continue to scale.”

Auto insurance is not mandatory for electric scooters, which are not allowed to be operated on public roads. However, a lot of carriers provide specialized electric bike insurance that is available through a home insurance policy.

“Regulators have really struggled to get their hands around this issue,” Heitlinger said, commenting in general.

“E-scooters have really popped up out of nowhere and at times could be a serious hazard,” Heitlinger said at the A.M. Best briefing, held Sept. 13 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto. “Right now, it’s a bit of a wild west out there. People are able to hop on and off on a whim, driving down the road or on the sidewalks at speeds of up to 50 km/h and docking really wherever.”

“Without proper rider etiquette in place …  there are still ample risks around this issue and while we do expect micro mobility insurance products to continue to slowly grow, the current lack of regulation and safe practices will likely hinder its growth in the near term.”