Two of the nation’s largest property/casualty insurer trade associations have weighed in with Illinois lawmakers on the subject of insurance coverage for commercial rideshare companies, saying such companies should be regulated in the same manner as other “for hire” auto services.
Representatives of both the American Insurance Association and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) submitted comments to the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee, at a March 13 hearing entitled “Closing the Insurance Gap: Examining Insurance Practices of For-Profit Commercial Rideshare Companies Operating in Illinois.” Insurers are concerned that transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are allowing drivers to use personal automobiles for commercial purposes.
“Private passenger automobile insurance does not cover for hire services. Covering commercial enterprises is simply not the function of this private passenger automobile insurance. Therefore we urge the Committee to ensure that both operators and passengers are protected by requesting that ridesharing programs have the same insurance protections as taxis, limousines and other for hire services,” Stephen Schneider, Midwest region vice president for the American Insurance Association (AIA), stated.
PCI said that with ridesharing businesses there are a number of insurance issues that need to be addressed.
“It is vitally important that the vehicles used by commercial ridesharing services are properly insured and the public is protected,” said Robert Passmore, senior director of personal lines for PCI.
Most personal automobile policies contain exclusions for vehicles being operated as a “livery” or to carry persons or property for a fee, so there would likely be no coverage on the driver’s personal auto policy for injuries or damage resulting from a ridesharing accident, according to PCI.
“The reason for the exclusion is simple, these kinds of activities present a significantly different and increased exposure to loss than personal automobile policies are intended to cover,” Passmore said. “While the ridesharing companies advertise that they provide insurance coverage, it is not always clear if these policies will provide primary coverage should the driver’s coverage not apply.”
Among other things, PCI suggested that ridesharing companies should be required to disclose to drivers the insurance coverages they provide, and notify them that their personal automobile policy will not provide coverage for injuries or damage resulting from commercial ridesharing.