September 8, 2015 by Canadian Underwriter
Intact Financial Corp. announced Tuesday it intends to offer “tailored insurance products” for Uber, a service that lets consumers order and pay for passenger transportation.
“The intention is to offer and market these products under IFC’s two largest brands – Intact Insurance and belairdirect,” Intact stated in a release, adding the firm is “working closely with insurance regulators and different levels of government in provinces where the ridesharing service currently exists.”
Regulators in Ontario and Alberta warned earlier this year about possible insurance coverage gaps with Uber.
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) noted earlier this year that the province’s standard auto policy “excludes coverage when the automobile is used to carry paying passengers or used as a taxi.” FSCO advises drivers not to provide ride-sharing services without first consulting with their auto insurance providers and seeking independent legal advice.
Uber Canada Inc. has told the Ontario Superior Court of Justice it has a $5-million insurance policy for passengers while on a trip arranged by Uber. However, that policy has not been made public.
The City of Toronto was unsuccessful in its application, to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, for a declaratory order that Uber “operates a taxi cab brokerage and limousine service contrary to” the Municipal Code.
Using the Uber mobile app, passengers can arrange for rides with licensed taxis and with Uber X drivers, who do not have taxi licences.
The city had alleged “that Uber does not have adequate insurance coverage that would protect drivers and passengers who use Uber services – namely the requesting and accepting of requests for transportation services,” Mr. Justice James Diamond wrote in a decision earlier this year.
In a decision released in July, Mr. Justice Sean Dunphy disagreed with the City of Toronto’s argument that Uber “accepts” calls to arrange limousine transportation. Uber had argued that with its app, it is only offering information or “lead generation.”
“If ‘accepts’ were read as broadly as the City suggests, then unintended consequences would abound,” he wrote in his ruling in favour of Uber. “Such a definition would capture any telephone carrier since they are in the business of connecting calls and some of the calls they connect are certainly to request taxicab or limousine transportation.”
In Alberta, superintendent of insurance Mark Prefontaine warned that Uber’s supplemental insurance policies “do not currently meet the requirements of Alberta’s Insurance Act and regulations.”
In an advisory in July, Prefontaine warned that owners and drivers “are at risk of having limited or no third party liability coverage to pay for a potential legal claim if the driver is responsible for a collision that causes injury or damage to a passenger, pedestrian, or other party.”
Intact stated Tuesday it will share more details on its insurance products for Uber when they are made available.
“With the growing popularity of the sharing and on-demand economy, we are adapting our product range to offer innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of consumers,” stated Louis Gagnon, Intact’s president of service and distribution.