In­surer joins forces with Uber to of­fer cover for driv­ers

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - An­drew Cal­lus and Maya Niko­laeva Paris

UBER and in­sur­ance group AXA have joined forces in France to of­fer ac­ci­dent cover for driv­ers who work for the ride-hail­ing ser­vice af­ter it faced crit­i­cism over their treat­ment.

In France, as in other coun­tries, Uber has been chal­lenged by law­mak­ers, work­ers’ rights ad­vo­cates and the es­tab­lished taxi in­dus­try. They com­plain it is able un­fairly to un­der­cut ri­val ser­vices be­cause it uses in­de­pen­dent work­ers who do not en­joy the same rights and ben­e­fits as per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees.

The agree­ment an­nounced in France yes­ter­day comes on top of new ben­e­fit pack­age schemes that have been an­nounced in var­i­ous coun­tries in which it op­er­ates, in­clud­ing the US and Bri­tain.

“This part­ner­ship will pro­vide a safety net for the in­de­pen­dent work­ers who en­joy flex­i­ble work at the touch of a but­ton and we’ll carry on lis­ten­ing about fur­ther im­prove­ments we can make to cre­ate the best pos­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Pierre-Dim­itri Gore-Coty, Uber’s head of op­er­a­tions for Europe, the Mid­dle East and Africa.

No de­tails of the French scheme were pro­vided ex­cept to say that the in­sur­ance would be free for driv­ers. A state­ment from the two com­pa­nies said there would be fur­ther in­for­ma­tion avail­able once the sys­tem was in place in the au­tumn.

Life cover

Cur­rently, self-em­ployed driv­ers’ com­pul­sory in­sur­ance poli­cies do not of­fer life cover. AXA said the French pro­tec­tion of Uber work­ers would cover med­i­cal ex­penses, disability in­dem­ni­ties, and sur­vivor ben­e­fits in case of an ac­ci­dent.

Across the world, large car in­sur­ers have be­gun rolling out cov­er­age tai­lored to ride-hail­ing driv­ers.

In some places, that fills a void which had ex­isted for driv­ers whose per­sonal poli­cies do not cover trips dur­ing which they are driv­ing pas­sen­gers for pay.

In France, how­ever, Uber ser­vices are re­stricted to driv­ers who al­ready hold a mini­cab li­cence. Its ride-shar­ing arm, UberPOP, was out­lawed in 2015. Driv­ers work­ing for Uber in Bri­tain will be able to ac­cess ill­ness and in­jury cover un­der a new scheme run by the As­so­ci­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Pro­fes­sion­als and the Self-Em­ployed, Uber said in April.

In New York, Uber holds a group ride-shar­ing in­sur­ance pol­icy that cov­ers ac­ci­dent dur­ing a pre­ar­ranged trip, but also while the driver is wait­ing for a trip re­quest. It works only when a driver is logged in to the app. – Reuters


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