An Ontarian based auto insurance provider has announced a new product that could bring wide ranging ramifications for the future of Uber in Canada. Aviva Canada, one of the country’s leading auto insurance providers, has announced that it will be offering a dedicated ride-sharing policy starting in February.
The announcement is the first of its kind in Canada, making Aviva the first insurer to embrace the idea of insuring ride-sharing drivers, and is certain to change the situation regarding the UberX service. Aviva says this is its first ridesharing product anywhere in the world and it will make its debut in Ontario during early February. The company says it will be looking to expand to other provinces and is working with local authorities to make that possible.
“With ride-sharing on the rise, consumers have new options available to them, however there is a gap in insurance coverage which potentially leaves them without appropriate protection and benefits. When consumer need change, we must evolve our insurance solutions to respond,” said Greg Somerville, President and CEO of Aviva Canada. “We're excited to offer a simple and affordable solution within a driver's existing personal auto policy, thereby providing drivers and passengers with absolute peace of mind that they have insurance coverage while ride-sharing."
UberX has drawn huge controversy in Canada because of the unclear nature of how drivers are insured. At the moment it is believe that almost all of the 20,000 UberX drivers in Toronto are not covered properly because they are using their personal auto insurance polies. Personal coverage is not sufficient for drivers who make a living from their vehicles, but Uber still allows these drivers to work despite saying its own $5 million liability coverage only protects drivers with sufficient commercial auto insurance.
Aviva Canada’s decision to launch a dedicated ride-sharing product means that drivers for UberX and companies similar can now be covered when using their own vehicles as quasi-taxi services. The company says there will be some simple criteria for the policy, giving some examples as:
- Maximum 8 passengers
- At least 20 hours work per week
- Licensed for at least six years
- No other commercial use
Arguably the most appealing point of Aviva’s ride-sharing coverage is that it is an added policy on top of a personal cover, meaning consumers can use their vehicle for personal and commercial use and do not need to take out separate policies. The company says that the cost of this added policy will be a “small portion of the income earned by the driver, calculated using factors such as time spent ride-sharing, area driven in and driver record.”
Late last year, Intact Insurance announced that it was working with Uber to create a policy specific to the company, but the Canadian insurer offered no more details as it continues to produce the coverage.