According to a new report from The Star, Aviva Canada, one of Canada’s largest insurance companies, is cracking down on UberX drivers who do not have proper commercial insurance.
In a statement, the internal Aviva Canada circular, which reports weekly on examples of insurance fraud, said:
“Driving for Uber is still considered commercial use and is unacceptable for personal vehicles. It is therefore important that we continue to encourage our policyholders and applicants to be forthcoming and honest about the use of their vehicles. Without proper insurance, they are putting both themselves and others at risk.”
Aviva’s anti-fraud team was provided with information, including names, photographs and licence plate numbers, of four UberX driver in Ottawa by an anonymous tipster. Investigators uncovered information about these four policy holders that showed they were not properly insured.
The insurance company voided the policies of two drivers lapsed another’s policy at renewal and agreed to rewrite the fourth driver’s policy. The fourth driver was not purposefully trying to misrepresent the use of her vehicle.
Aviva’s vice-president legal and fraud management Gordon Rasbach said that complaints from the Canadian Taxi Association about Uber drivers lacking proper insurance prompted the company to conduct their own investigation. In an email, Rasbach wrote:
“The evidence we gathered confirmed that information provided by these policyholders at the time of application for insurance was not correct and appropriate underwriting action was taken. We encourage Uber drivers to speak with their brokers or insurers regarding commercial automobile insurance. By ensuring they have the proper insurance; Uber drivers are protecting both themselves and their customers.”
Philomena Comerford, president and CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, estimated that UberX drivers would have to pay approximately $23,000 a year for high-risk insurance coverage. Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath said:
“We advise driver partners to consult with their personal auto insurer before driving on the platform.”
In an email Tracey Cook, executive director of licensing and standards, said:
“We remind people that UberX service is operating contrary to the city’s bylaw. It is recommended that they notify their insurance companies of this fact. Passengers considering using the UberX service should also make themselves aware of any risks, including their rights in the event of an accident.”
According to estimates there are approximately 500,000 UberX rides per month in the city of Toronto. Currently, 104 UberX drivers in Toronto face 208 bylaw violations.