PCI Backs Ride Sharing Rules in Columbus, Wants Chicago to Wait

May 28, 2014

A property/casualty insurance trade group is supporting proposed ride sharing regulations in Columbus, Ohio, but is urging the city council in Chicago, Ill., to delay action on proposed rules in that city.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) believes proposed regulations for ride sharing activities in Columbus are “on the right track.”

Jeffrey Junkas regional manager for PCI said the latest version of Columbus’ “Chapter 588 of the Vehicle for Hire code sets a reasonable standard to ensure that ride sharing activities are properly insured and that drivers, passengers and the public are protected if there is an accident.”

Key insurance elements of the proposal include providing for a “bright line rule” with respect to responsibility for insurance coverage; requiring many of the same coverages as common in the personal lines market to protect drivers, passengers and the public; and requiring disclosures by drivers to their primary auto insurers about their participation in ride sharing activities.

Junkas said the regulations establish “that the ride sharing firms’ insurance coverage is primary from the time their drivers make themselves available for business by turning on the app to the time they turn it off. This is an appropriate method to help avoid costly legal disputes that impact all drivers’ insurance costs.”

On the other hand, PCI is urging the city of Chicago to wait on a proposed ordinance for regulating ride sharing activities being considered there.

Both the PCI and the Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) say legislation moving through the state legislature is taking a more balanced approach.

The proposed Chicago ordinance, SO2014-1367, “is an improvement from the original version as it requires the ride sharing companies to be primary insurer for their drivers,” PCI’s Junkas said. However, “it continues to be a flawed proposal that falls short regarding insurance issues.”

The IIA and PCI believe the best way to support innovation in transportation is to have clear insurance rules that don’t leave insureds or accident victims in the lurch because of disputes, and laws that do not burden all drivers with unfair costs.

The state legislature has already passed HB 4075 and is within days of deciding the fate of companion legislation HB 5331, PCI said.

Both groups view the legislation before state lawmakers as a positive step forward, setting a reasonable standard to ensure that the public is protected if there is an accident. The bills provide a bright line rule and consistency of coverage for ride sharing activities and protect the predicable interpretation of insurance contracts and exclusions in personal lines policies for activities such as commercial ride sharing.

“We support the provisions in the state house bills as they will avoid all drivers subsidizing the riskier driving activities of a small number of drivers and the companies that facilitate these programs,” said Kevin Martin, executive director of the IIA. “Additionally, they outline numerous important consumer protections via disclosures to drivers, insurers and government agencies.”

Source: PCI

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