March 30, 2016 (Toronto) – Just because an insurance product exists does not mean anybody is buying it, taxi industry leaders told the province of Ontario today.
Gail Souter, president of the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) and Marc Andre Way, president of the Canadian Taxi Association (CTA) sent a joint letter to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), which regulates automobile insurance, calling upon it to require insurers to report on the number of “ride hailing” policies sold to UberX drivers acting as unlicensed taxi drivers.
“We are well aware from industry conversations that a miniscule number of unlicensed drivers will purchase these products, if in fact any ever do. They have managed to drive passengers for compensation for months or years without notifying their insurance companies, and they have no plan to change their behaviour now,” Souter says.
“For example, on March 19th in downtown Toronto, an UberX driver was involved in a serious accident. The driver had to be cut from the car, and he and 3 passengers were transported to hospital. Was this driver covered by any required insurance endorsement? Does anyone know?” she asks.
“Licensed taxi drivers are not only required to pay for commercial insurance, they must present proof of insurance to maintain their license. UberX drivers should be required to do exactly the same thing; otherwise, this entire special ‘ride hailing endorsement’ is simply smoke and mirrors.”
Driving.ca magazine recently noted, “(T)he majority…would rather risk exposure to possible lawsuits and damages than a guaranteed bump in their rates.”
For this reason, the TTA and the CTA wrote FSCO asking it to protect the public through the following actions:
- That insurance firms selling ride-hailing endorsements be required to report to FSCO the number of such endorsements actually sold, and detail for FSCO how they are monitoring the fact that drivers are only driving the 10 or 20 hours per week for which they are insured.
- That this information be shared with municipalities. Release of information on the actual number of endorsements purchased will give politicians more accurate information on which to base their debates and decisions.