Canadian Underwriter

Turo launches car-sharing marketplace in B.C., partners with car rental entrepreneurs

October 3, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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Turo, which connects local car owners with travellers looking for adventure and in need of a vehicle, has expanded its car-sharing marketplace into British Columbia.

To address provincial insurance regulations, the company has structured the expansion by partnering with local, independent car rental entrepreneurs that will make their fleets available to Turo members and will provide their own commercial rental insurance to travellers.

“Independent car rental companies are natural partners for Turo; most are family-run, small businesses who offer great service, and great cars, at great prices,” Cedric Mathieu, director of Turo Canada, says in a statement from the company, which has more than 4 million members around the world, including 220,000 in Canada.

“With its great outdoor culture, high penetration of car-sharing and high levels of cross-border travel, (British Columbia) is a natural market for Turo,” Mathieu notes.

“Over 7% of Turo community members are residents of B.C. who use the platform in other provinces and for travel to the U.S.,” he reports.

The car-sharing marketplace allows both local and international travellers to choose from a unique selection of cars while car owners earn extra money.

Related: Learning to Share

The expansion into B.C. marks the company’s first since its Canadian launch in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec during the spring of 2016.

The company sees the expansion as “an important step in realizing Turo’s mission to put Canada’s 23 million cars to better use and to capture a growing share of the Canadian travel market.”

A number of preferred partners – including hotels, independent car rental companies and individual car entrepreneurs – have already listed their vehicles on the platform, Turo reports. All partners are required to carry adequate commercial rental insurance, as well as provide best-in-class service, to take part.

Availability, Mathieu suggests, is one way the “platform makes car rental more accessible than ever, unlocking unique travel experiences and new economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and travel operators in B.C.”

In general, travellers can pick a specific protection package with each trip — premium, basic or decline coverage — each of which has varying physical damage protection, notes information on the company website.

“Whatever protection level you choose, you’re covered with $2 million in liability insurance (insurance partners are Intact and belairdirect),” the information states.

“When the owner is a car rental company that provides its own insurance, your protection options are purchased directly from the owner,” the website explains.

Related: U.S. peer-to-peer car rental marketplace begins international expansion in Canada insured by Intact

Turo is currently preparing for its launch of a peer-to-peer service. “We remain committed to launching our peer-to-peer marketplace in the near future, and will be working with insurance regulators and legislators to bring Turo to all individual car owners in B.C. soon,” Mathieu states.

Earlier this month, Turo announced it had raised $92 million from investors, bringing its total funding to $193 million. The plan is to “invest the capital to enhance the customer experience on both sides of the marketplace, boost customer acquisition, and grow the Turo brand globally,” the company reports.