TTA calls upon Toronto to apply for Injunction against UberX

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Joel Barr, Majeed Shidfar, Sam Moini, Asafo Addai and Javid Wali went to Toronto Mayor John Tory's office on November 25th to deliver a letter demanding Toronto apply for an injunction to stop illegal, uninsured UberX from operating in our city.

Toronto Taxi Alliance

 

John Tory, Mayor

City of Toronto

100 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario                                               November 25, 2015

 

Dear Mayor Tory:

No doubt you are aware that the City of Calgary successfully obtained an injunction prohibiting the illegal operation of UberX in that city.

Today, the members of the Toronto Taxi Alliance call upon the City of Toronto to do the same: apply for an injunction in the Superior Court prohibiting Uber from carrying on its illegal operation in our city.

There is a strong and compelling public interest why the City must seek this remedy to protect residents from an illegal, unlicensed and uninsured operation.

With winter upon us, and worsening driving conditions, these untrained UberX drivers will be operating cars that are not regularly inspected and may not have safety features such as winter tires (as all taxis are required to have).  There is increased risk for an accident to take place when weather conditions deteriorate.

Additionally, allowing upwards of 20,000 uninsured UberX drivers on our roads is a potentially dangerous ingredient that adds more congestion on our roads while putting the traveling public at risk.

Further, Uber’s continual refusal to suspend its UberX program constitutes a flagrant and blatant disregard for the law and places Torontonians at risk.

When the City applied for such an injunction one year ago, the Court held that definition of “taxicab broker” in the Municipal Code did not clearly capture Uber’s activity. However, On October 2, 2015 the Code was amended to remedy that deficiency. Yet despite a request by the City to cease its illegal operations Uber has refused to do so.

Therefore it is imperative that City staff re-applies for an injunction against UberX and its illegal operations immediately.

Mayor Tory, Toronto has seen and applauded the results of the exercise of political will demonstrated when you announced that you were working with Toronto Police Services to crackdown on parking infractions in our city.

We believe that if the same political will is applied to stopping illegal and uninsured UberX drivers, this activity can be stopped. Calgary has proved that this is possible. Calgary is putting the safety of its citizens first; Toronto must do the same.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

 

Gail Souter, President

Toronto Taxi Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

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Sam Moini delivers the Toronto Taxi Alliance's letter to Mayor John Tory's office.

 

 

Calgary gets injunction against UberX: Toronto must apply for the same

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Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is very clear on stating that UberX is uninsured and illegal.

November 21, 2015 (Toronto) -- Calgary is enforcing the law against Uber, and Toronto should be doing the same, says the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA).

“Congratulations to Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the City of Calgary for demonstrating true political will when dealing with a renegade business which flagrantly disobeys the law,” says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the TTA. “We commend Calgary for taking a stand for the rule of law in Canada.

“Calgary is protecting its citizens. The injunction is designed to ensure that the public is not put at risk.  Why is Toronto Mayor Tory continuing to play Russian roulette with Torontonians’ lives by allowing illegal and uninsured cars to roam the street with impunity?”

With thousands of uninsured and untrained UberX drivers operating on our streets it is only a matter of time before a serious accident will result in insurance mayhem, Moini notes: “Until UberX comes into regulatory compliance, they should be barred from operating in our city. Toronto has made the necessary changes to bring its bylaws into compliance with the judge’s ruling. Now, before the bad weather sets in and the risks go up, we need to get these unregulated, non-inspected and uninsured cars off the road.”

Calgary reported in a press release on November 20th that the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta has issued a temporary injunction against drivers offering rides for a fee using the Uber app.

Justice G. H. Poelman issued the injunction to run until a full hearing December 17. At that time, Calgary will argue the injunction should be permanent to stop drivers from offering or providing rides for a fee using a vehicle hired through the Uber app until safety, insurance and regulatory requirements are met.

“Toronto’s Licensing and Standards Division did the right thing when it applied for an injunction last year; however, Justice Dunphy had to reject the injunction because Toronto’s definition of ‘taxi’ was outdated, referring only to telephones and not apps. Toronto rectified this problem on September 30th, and should have acted immediately to file another injunction application,” Moini says.

“In Toronto, while hundreds of cars are being towed for parking illegally, not one single UberX vehicle has been towed for operating without insurance. Which offense does Toronto consider more serious: a parking infraction, or driving without insurance?”

On Twitter, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was very blunt in his assessments of Uber’s willingness to break the law, as well as its lack of insurance – two situations with exact parallels in Ontario:

Naheed NenshiVerified account‏@nenshi @robcook64 the insurance regulator, the insurance companies themselves, and now a judge disagree they have proper insurance.Bottom of Form

Naheed Nenshi ‏@nenshi  13h13 hours ago@robcook64 even Uber themselves have agreed they need to sort out their insurance. They chose to illegally launch anyway.

Naheed Nenshi ‏@nenshi  13h13 hours ago @robcook64 maybe. Maybe even likely. But they have to operate under the law and they have to have proper insurance.

Naheed Nenshi ‏@nenshi  13h13 hours ago @robcook64 and not one of those has proper insurance! Today, a judge agreed.

“The TTA encourages Toronto to return to Ontario court with a new injunction request, in light of the September 30 Council decision. It’s November 21st; why is Toronto waiting to take action against this illegal, uninsured operation?” Moini points out.

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Insurance expert: UberX is illegal without commercial insurance

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Insurance Amnesia: When did auto insurance become a joke in Ontario?

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Philomena Comerford, President and CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance

 

By Philomena Comerford, President and CEO, Baird MacGregor Insurance

To your auto insurance company, carrying paying passengers falls into the same group of troubling excluded uses as does carrying explosives or radioactive materials.

For UberX drivers who mistakenly believe they are “ride sharing,” the news is not good. UberX is not ride sharing; UberX drivers are carrying paying passengers for profit which is absolutely excluded under their personal auto policies.

Unless you have an OPCF 6A Endorsement that permits carrying paying passengers as part of your policy, you are not insured. Every taxi and limousine in Ontario carries this endorsement. UberX drivers are either under the mistaken impression that they do not need this endorsement or are deliberately hiding this excluded use of their personal vehicle from their insurer.

To those of us who have worked for decades as insurance professionals, it seems that politicians, police, and media have been stricken with some kind of “Insurance Amnesia,” the chief symptom of which is to forget that it is against the law to drive without proper insurance, and that personal insurance policies specifically exclude drivers who carry paying passengers.

UberX continues to operate without insurance despite Toronto Council’s motion requesting they cease operating until they are brought within the law.

Insurance Amnesia is running rampant. Officials who are elected to design and uphold the law are, incredibly, promoting wholesale disregard of Ontario’s insurance laws. By now, Tim Hudak, John Tory and City Councils across the province should be fully aware that UberX drivers who do not carry an OPCF 6A endorsement are not covered to carry paying passengers; yet when Toronto’s Chief of Police says he does not have the resources to enforce the law, no one bats an eye.

When did insurance become a joke in Ontario?

In the case of UberX drivers who are pulled over while transporting paying passengers, police or licensing and standards by law enforcement officers should simply ask for a copy of the 6A endorsement and charge the driver if he fails to produce evidence of this proper insurance.

City Council does not have the authority to re-write Ontario’s Mandatory Insurance Act or the Highway Traffic Act. No matter how much users love UberX, technology does not trump the law. To the insurer, it does not matter if the car was dispatched using an app or dispatched using a telephone. If you’re making money from it, you are carrying paying passengers. It’s black and white; there are no shades of grey.

In October, Aviva Insurance began cancelling the policies of clients found to be driving for UberX. Politicians and police now have concrete proof that UberX drivers are not covered by their personal policies and yet police have no plans to take action; this, while they tow hundreds of cars during the “parking blitz.”

This begs the question: which is the greater societal crime to which enforcement resources should be allocated, illegal parking or uninsured vehicles?

Promoting the idea UberX drivers need some special new insurance product is disingenuous and irresponsible. The product that UberX drivers need exists right now: it is the OPCF 6A endorsement. UberX drivers are free to purchase this at a cost of about $4000 to $10,000.

Let’s admit the truth. Uber doesn’t want a new product; it wants a cheaper product.

In spite of all the recent publicity, UberX drivers continue to drive without commercial insurance; this constitutes insurance fraud. By systemically hiding UberX activity from their insurers, considerably increased injury exposure will push the cost of your personal auto insurance up over time, undermining Ontario’s mandate to reduce it.

UberX drivers stubbornly ignore the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and Insurance Bureau of Canada’s warnings about the personal auto paying passenger exclusion and the City of Toronto’s cease order.  It is wishful thinking that these same UberX drivers would buy any new product later when they won’t purchase the existing product now.

Now that Aviva has had the intestinal fortitude to take a stand with uninsured UberX drivers, perhaps the rest of the insurance industry will drink a cup of courage and do the same thing….. before a tsunami of uninsured injury claims come rolling in.

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Philomena Comerford, CIP

Philomena Comerford is President & CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and its affiliate, Hargraft. 

She joined the firm in 1980 after serving at a national brokerage, is the incumbent President of the Toronto Insurance Conference Board, member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada’s board of directors, and is a past Chairman of the Insurance Institute of Canada having also served on IIC’s Examination, Education and Executive Committees. 

She is also the incumbent Chair of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada’s Political Action Committee.  Philomena has served on the Ontario Automobile Operating Committee of the Facility Association and is a frequent public speaker on insurance and risk management topics.

Philomena participated in The City of Toronto Taxicab Review in a series of roundtable consultations regarding public vehicle insurance and risk management best practices.  Baird MacGregor is an established specialty commercial automobile insurance provider with significant public vehicle insurance expertise. 

 

Expert: UberX drivers must have commercial insurance

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Philomena Comerford, President and CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance.

Philomena Comerford, President and CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance, writes very plainly that UberX drivers must have the same commercial insurance taxis have - yet Uber continues to tell drivers they only need their personal policies.

Click here to read her piece, "Insurance Amnesia." 

UberX drivers have insurance policies cancelled

 

November 1, 2015 (Toronto) – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) supports Aviva Insurance in its move to clarify the difference between personal and commercial insurance coverage as it cancels the policies of UberX drivers.

“The past several months have been a very confusing time for drivers and insurance consumers,” says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the TTA.

“While Toronto taxi and limo drivers are very clear on the fact that they must carry an OPCF 6A Endorsement on their insurance policy in order to carrying paying passengers, Uber and the media have repeatedly made statements that led UberX drivers to believe this endorsement and extra expense is not necessary. It IS necessary, as several UberX drivers who have had their policies cancelled by their insurer are learning the hard way.”

When an UberX driver’s insurance policy is cancelled, Moini points out, that driver is not only not allowed to drive for Uber; that driver is no longer insured to drive their own personal vehicle.

“This is an unfortunate situation which could be fixed if everyone transporting fares for money had an OPCF 6A endorsement on their policy,” Moini says. “However, a policy with this endorsement costs between $4,000 and $10,000 and part-time drivers do not want to pay this amount, so they do not inform their insurance agents they are driving for money. The end result, as we are seeing, is bad news for UberX drivers. In the province of Ontario, if you plan to transport fares for money, you must have commercial insurance. There are no exceptions for part-timers.”

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