Aviva Canada will be the official commercial automobile insurance provider for the California-based ride-sharing program Lyft, which is anticipated to start operations in Canada this month.
Aviva will cover Lyft through a commercial insurance fleet policy. Coverage and limits vary, depending upon four different phases of the commercial transaction — 1) private use of the vehicle, 2) turning on the Lyft app to search for a ride, 3) driving to pick up the passenger, and 4) picking up passengers and dropping them off at their destination.
“Aviva recognizes that the mobility needs of our clients are changing and so, as an innovative insurer, we want to be responding to the changing mobility models that are out there in the market,” Mazdak Moini, vice president of commercial insurance told Canadian Underwriter Tuesday. “That’s why we found an opportunity initially to work with Lyft to be an exciting one, as they are doing their first international expansion into Canada.”
Under Aviva’s Lyft policy, in the first phase of coverage, Phase 0 (zero), drivers are using their vehicles for private use and therefore their personal automobile policies will apply.
In Phase 1 of the policy, the Lyft driver opens the Lyft app, making themselves available to accept a trip. As soon as this is done, the Aviva-Lyft commercial policy kicks in. In this phase, Lyft drivers are covered with $1 million of Third Party liability, standard accident benefits, and a $1,000 deductible for collision and comprehensive applies.
As soon as the Lyft driver accepts a trip, Phase 2 of the coverage cycle begins. During the time they go to pick up a passenger, the Lyft driver is covered for $2 million Third Party liability, standard accident benefits, and a $1,000 deductible for collision and comprehensive applies.
Phase 2 coverage and limits also apply to Phase 3, which begins when the passenger(s) enter the vehicle and ends when the passengers exit the vehicle.
“Once the passenger has exited the vehicle, you either circle back to Phase Zero, or Phase 1, depending on whether you leave the app on to be available to pick up any additional clients or not,” Moini explained to Canadian Underwriter. “So, if you leave the app on because you are looking for your second fare, you are entering into Phase 1, but if you turn the app off, because you’re done for the day, then you’re down to Phase Zero, when your personal insurance policy picks up.”
Phase 3 ends explicitly with the exit of the passengers, as opposed to being triggered by closing out of the app, for safety reasons, said David D’Arcy, senior manager and the Lyft initiative lead at Aviva Canada. It’s possible, for example, for a driver to tap the screen of his or her mobile device twice instead of once while in the Lyft app, shutting down the app while a passenger is still in the vehicle.
“Lyft’s concern is that the passengers are delivered safely to their location and they are covered 100 per cent of the time,” said D’Arcy. “That’s why the language says, ‘Until the passenger exits the vehicle.’
Claims are handled by calling Lyft’s Critical Response line, which has been in operation for a number of years in the United States. “They have the ability to record all of the information from the passengers and drivers and create the first notice of loss, so when it gets to us, a good portion of the investigation, at least from the starting point, has already been done,” said D’Arcy. “They have provided us with enough information to start adjudicating the loss.”