TTA, CTA ask: Has ANYONE bought the new ride-hailing insurance?

Gail Souter, President

Toronto Taxi Alliance

#1 Credit Union Drive

Toronto, ON 

Marc Andre Way, President

Canadian Taxicab Association

455 Coventry Rd.

Ottawa, ON

 

Mr. Tom Golfetto, Director

Automobile Insurance Division

Financial Services Commission of Ontario

5160 Yonge Street
P.O. Box 85
Toronto, Ontario, M2N 6L9

 

March 30, 2016

Dear Mr. Golfetto,

We are writing today in regards to recent developments in new insurance products for sale to unlicensed taxi companies such as UberX and other ride-hailing companies.

We in the legal, regulated taxi industry have grave concerns about the erroneous perception in the media and among elected officials that unlicensed bandit taxi drivers will all now proceed to purchase these endorsements, and that the ride-hailing insurance issue has now been satisfactorily settled.

In fact, 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.

For example, on March 19th in downtown Toronto, an Uber 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?

In fact, Drive Magazine notes, “I’m guessing the majority…would rather risk exposure to possible lawsuits and damages than a guaranteed bump in their rates.”

Further, Uber confuses this situation tremendously in its recruitment materials by telling drivers they only need to provide their personal policy information.

For this reason, the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) and the Canadian Taxicab Association (CTA) are writing you today to ask the Financial Services Commission of Ontario 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.

We trust you will agree that everyone – consumers, service providers, elected officials and the insurance industry itself – will be well and fairly served with the release of the above information.

Additionally, we request that FSCO investigate the misleading representations Uber has made to the public in the media and to their UberX drivers concerning its insurance shortfall and in particular, its failure to clearly inform drivers that Uber's Non Owned Automobile insurance does not address the paying passenger exclusion and which we believe constitutes an unfair and deceptive business practice.

From Uber’s website FAQ:

“INSURANCE

All drivers are required to carry valid personal auto insurance, which will be your primary coverage. Every ride on the UberX platform is backed by $5,000,000 of contingent coverage for bodily injury and property damage to third parties. This means that if, in the event of an accident, your own personal insurance is exhausted or does not apply for any reason, passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, and the community at large can rest assured knowing that ridesharing partners remain covered by a robust first-class policy.”

 

We appreciate your attention to this matter.  Please do not hesitate to contact either of us if you have any questions.

Yours very truly,

 

 

Gail Souter, President                                Marc Andre Way, President

Toronto Taxi Alliance                             Canadian Taxicab Association