Canadian Underwriter

Ontario approves commercial fleet coverage for ride sharing

July 7, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Ontario government announced Thursday it has approved a regulatory change allowing “commercial fleet insurance to be offered for vehicles that can be hired through an online application.”

Ontario auto 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.”

Previously the Insurance Act stipulated that the standard auto policy excludes a vehicle “used as a taxicab, bus, a sightseeing conveyance or to carry paying passengers.”

The Uber logo is seen in front of protesting taxi drivers at the Montreal courthouse, on February 2, 2016. Calgary city council has passed a bylaw that would allow for the operation of ride-sharing companies, but officials with Uber say the rules are too strict. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Photo by Ryan Remiorz, The Canadian Press

As of July 7, Ontario auto insurers “will be able to come forward and use this regulatory change as the basis for auto insurance coverage for sharing economy businesses,” the province said.

The definition of “fleet” has been changed to a “group of not fewer than five automobiles” that meets the several requirements.

Those vehicles can be “under common ownership or management, and any automobiles in the group that are subject to a lease agreement for a period in excess of 30 days are leased to the same insured person,” or “available for hire through a common online-enabled application or system for the pre-arrangement of transportation, and insured under a contract of automobile insurance in which the automobile owner or lessee, as the case may be, has coverage as an insured named in the contract.”

Aviva Canada announced in January an auto policy that would cover drivers spending up to 20 hours a week participating in ride sharing.

Intact Insurance also announced plans to offer a tailored insurance program for UberX vehicles.