Alberta government unveils insurance policies aimed specifically at ride-sharing companies

Transportation Minister Brian Mason unveiled the Alberta government’s new insurance product for ride-sharing companies and drivers Tuesday.

READ MORE: Ontario insurance regulator approves coverage for Uber drivers in Canadian ‘first’

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    Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance developed a new policy called the Alberta Standard Automobile Form – Transportation Network S.P.F. No. 9 (SPF9). The insurance product can be sold by licensed insurance companies as of July 1.

    Ridesharing giant Uber, which is currently not allowed to operate in Alberta because its insurance plan was not approved by the province, said every driver operating on the Uber platform in Alberta will automatically be covered under the new policy offered by Intact Insurance and purchased by Uber.

    READ MORE: Uber-less start for Edmonton’s legal ride-sharing era

    “This new ride-sharing insurance structure is a key step to bring Uber back to Edmonton and support our efforts to serve Albertans across the province,” Ian Black, general manager for Uber Canada, said. “We look forward to our ongoing work with regulators and partners to bring ridesharing to an always growing number of cities across the country.”

    Uber said, however, that it did not have any specific information on a possible relaunch of its services in Alberta cities.

    According to the province, the new policy will insure all Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers starting from when they log into their TNC’s mobile app to provide rides for hire.

    The new insurance offering will cover statutory accident benefits for three defined “periods”:
    -Period 1 is defined as beginning when a driver activates their business’ app with no passengers and provides $1 million in contingent third-party liability with no collision or comprehensive coverage.
    -Periods 2 and 3 are when a fare is accepted and when the driver has picked up a passenger. During this time, the policy provides $2 million in third-party liability coverage with optional collision or comprehensive coverage.

    In addition to the primary new insurance product, ride-share drivers can buy additional insurance coverage beyond what companies can buy.

    Drivers who work less than 20 hours a week can get an endorsement form which allows for additional coverage while a different endorsement form allows drivers to buy additional coverage for when they’ve already logged into the app but not yet confirmed a fare.

    “This coverage structure also provides an opportunity for the insurance industry to develop personal lines coverage options for the period during which drivers are available to accept a ride but have yet to do so,” Karim Hirji, senior vice president with International & Ventures for Intact Financial Corporation, explained.

    The insurance development comes a little over a month after the NDP government passed the Transportation Safety Amendment Act, allowing the province to regulate TNCs and their drivers. Among the new rules declared May 16 were that all TNC drivers must have a Class 1, 2 or 4 driver’s licence, outlining minimum standards for an “acceptable police check,” and clearly defining what a TNC business or driver is.

    READ MORE:Alberta introduces new regulations for ride-sharing companies like Uber

    “Our primary goal is to ensure all of Alberta’s road users – drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists – are safe,” Mason said in a news release Tuesday.”This regulation provides clear rules and guidelines for Transportation Network Companies who want to operate in our province.”

    The province said its new rules will work side-by-side with bylaws developed by local municipalities and not in place of them.

    Currently, TappCar is the only commercial dispatcher in Edmonton with a licence and approved insurance. It began operating in March.

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