Transportation tech companies like Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar have so far been hesitant to claim responsibility for their drivers when it comes to minor mishaps or serious accidents, but now ridesharing apps are organizing to solve their insurance crisis once and for all.
The Peer-to-Peer Rideshare Insurance Coalition will meet at the end of February to figure out how to "build a foundation of insurance best practices, policies, and information for peer-to-peer ridesharing," ridesharing app Lyft announced in a Monday blog post. The app, whose drivers are recognized for the flaming pink mustaches on their fenders, announced the coalition formation last week, but revealed its members this week--representatives from Sidecar, Uber, Esurance, Allstate, Farmers Insurance, and the CPUC.
The CPUC has been heavily involved in setting guidelines for ridesharing and cab-hailing apps. Though the transportation network companies, as they're now called in California, haven't confronted serious insurance issues in other states, regulators across the country will likely be keeping an eye on the coalition's progress.
The CPUC representatives are just sitting in as observers to make sure the coalition is aware of state regulations, like the one passed in September that requires transportation tech companies to carry liability insurance of at least $1 million.
Don't expect the coalition to make any big announcements right away, but its first meeting is a start. The pressure on ridesharing and cab apps to step up to the plate is only increasing in the wake of a New Year's Eve accident where an Uber driver in San Francisco struck and killed a 6-year-old girl. In that case, the driver was in between fares when the accident occurred, so the $1 million insurance policy doesn't apply.
It's unclear whether the coalition will be able come up with solutions to cases like Uber's, but accidents will continue to happen. Lyft announced it's giving drivers more insurance coverage, including collision coverage as well as coverage if a Lyft driver is hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Ridesharing companies would do well to be proactive and develop policies to cover their backs in any crisis.