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Quebec’s brokers association issues warning on UberX insurance coverage


September 10, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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Quebec’s brokers association, the Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Québec (RCCAQ), has issued a warning to UberX users that they are still not covered, despite a recently announced agreement between Intact Financial Corporation (IFC) and Uber.

The RCCAQ said that UberX drivers are not covered, given the “legislative vacuum surrounding Uber’s services”

The RCCAQ, the professional association representing more than 4,400 insurance brokers at 570 firms and branch offices in the province, on Thursday issued a consumer warning stemming from concerns that the agreement between IFC and Uber “may lead UberX drivers to believe that insurance coverage is in place to protect them.”

“That is far from being the case given the legislative vacuum surrounding Uber’s services,” the RCCAQ said in the statement. “As a result, the RCCAQ must sound the alarm.”

UberX enables private individuals to provide transportation services using their personal vehicles in exchange for payment based on time and distance travelled. But RCCAQ chair Vincent Gaudreau argued that insurance for UberX drivers remains a contentious issue.

“Uber features a commercial car sharing service provided by drivers who don’t have taxi licences and who aren’t commercially registered,” Gaudreau said in the statement. “The government has yet to take an official stance. Given the confusion surrounding this issue, there is an urgent need for a carefully designed regulatory framework. All of this begs the question: how can something be insured if it’s not legal?”

Last month, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said that he was “open to legalizing UberX-style means of transportation,” despite opposition from the taxi industry. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is against the service.

Gaudreau added that paid transportation services are not covered by the basic insurance contract, which is known in Quebec as Form FPQ 1. “That means that in the event of an accident, UberX drivers would not be covered by their personal insurance,” he said. “Even worse, they run the risk of having their insurance policy invalidated due to omissions or false statements.”

The agreement between Uber and Intact seems to suggest that a “solution is just around the corner,” the statement said. However, no specific insurance products are available.

Canadian Underwriter reported on Tuesday that Intact intends to offer “tailored insurance products” for Uber under IFC’s two largest brands – Intact Insurance and belairdirect. The firm is “working closely with insurance regulators and different levels of government in provinces where the ridesharing service currently exists.”

Gaudreau advised that all those interested in offering UberX services using their personal vehicle ensure that it is properly registered for commercial use. Consumers should also contact their insurance brokers to confirm exactly what is covered in their auto insurance policy, he suggested.

Quebec is not the only province raising concerns over Uber, 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.”

In July, Mark Prefontaine, Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance, said that he found “significant issues with regulatory compliance” and said that he was of the view that “Uber’s supplemental insurance policies do not currently meet the requirements of Alberta’s Insurance Act and regulations.”