The province of Alberta became the first to accept auto insurance for ride-sharing company Uber last week, alongside the regulations that allow such companies to operate in the province. This has opened a door where insurance companies are now offering coverage to ride-sharing drivers, and already the potential of this market is being glimpsed.
Ontario approved Aviva Canada’s ride-sharing auto insurance policy in March, the province itself has still not agreed to regulate Uber and other similar companies. That means Alberta is the first to have clear ride-sharing rules and legitimate insurance coverage, so the province is something of a proving ground.
Already it is clear that insurance companies can fill a market gap that could have potentially huge amounts of customers. However, there is one caveat, namely that it is still unclear if Uber drivers will adopt auto insurance or whether they will continue to fly in the face of laws. If the company is serious about regulations, it will enforce auto insurance coverage upon its drivers.
Intact Insurance was the first to announce it has launched a ride-sharing insurance product in Alberta, starting from July 1. Aviva then revealed its trail blazing coverage will be heading to Alberta from August 1, after previously being exclusive to Ontario and Quebec. The latest company to back Transportation Network Companies (TCNs) is Pembridge Insurance Company.
Similar to Aviva’s coverage, the company will let customers add a ride-sharing benefit on top of an existing personal auto insurance policy.
“Ride-for-hire is not going away; it’s growing,” says Bob Tisdale, president and COO of Pembridge Insurance Company. “The insurance industry needs to be flexible and forward thinking to address customers’ evolving needs.”
More carriers are sure to follow in the coming weeks and months as major insurance companies wake up to the potential that the TCN market has.
"We support any insurance product that provides appropriate coverage for the individual risk and additional protection for the consumer," said Julia Marshall, President of the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta.