Tag Archives: Aviva Canada

Nova Scotia Latest to Consider Uber Regulations

Cities around Canada are warming to the idea that Uber can provide an economical boost, even though actually integrating and regulating the company has remained elusive nationwide. The latest to explore the prospect of Uber and other sharing companies such Airbnb, is Nova Scotia.
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The word out of Halifax is that the province is ready to think about adopting Uber, although a review of the company and how it can be worked into current legislature will happen first. It is a stark contrast to Uber’s arrival in Canada, which was met with cities largely attempting to oust the U.S. ride-sharing provider. More recently, cities are considering the economic benefits of sharing companies and are looking for ways to work with them.

Nova Scotia describes Uber as a disruptive technology, but the province is considering whether to regulate the company or not. Tourism CEO Martha Stevens told the legislature committee this week that the government will first review the impact sharing companies will have on the economy. She stressed that while Uber is on the agenda, the province is putting the emphasis on Airbnb.

“Our work has just really started … and we don’t want to presume there will be further regulation,” said Stevens.

“It’s still only early days, but we want to make sure we’re doing the right things for visitors to Nova Scotia, but also for businesses that are operating here today.

“This is not going away, and we want to understand and enhance some of the new technologies because consumers are demanding it.”

Uber has struggled to reach terms with local governments around the country about how it should be regulated, and has been forced to leave some markets, while still operating illegally in others. Last month, Aviva Canada launched an auto insurance policy that covers ride-sharing operatives in Ontario, with expansion around the country likely during the coming months.

No legal action against Uber says Toronto mayor

Taxi drivers said they would seek an injunction against Uber in Toronto, but the city council voted on Wednesday and decided the unions will have to wait. The council says it will not take legal action against Uber at the moment, but will look at the matter again in the summer.
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The latest round of government vs. Uber vs. taxi industry vs. government did little to ease tensions that have been building since Uber made its debut in Ontario during 2014. Taxi drivers once again were vocal in their criticism of the government’s ruling, but the council said that its decision sends Uber a clear message, even if legal action will not be sought right now.

“Our professional advice that we received from our lawyers and regulators was to the effect that we were not going to have the best chance at being successful in an injunction brought at this time,” Mayor John Tory said.

Any application for an injunction, which is a course taxi driver unions want to take, will not be heard until the summer, at least. The city says this sends a message to Uber;

“We are sending a clear message to Uber,” Coun. Janet Davis said. “We are quite prepared and we are directing our staff to launch an injunction at the right time.”

Last year the city voted to regulate the controversial UberX service and since then the situation has got worse, not better. Firstly Uber did not comply with a city request to cease operations until regulations are in place (likely the end of 2016), and then taxi drivers protested the decision to regulate the company, bringing Downtown Toronto to a standstill.

Uber has won some major victories in recent weeks, most notably the vote in Edmonton last week that will see the city legalize the UberX service. Taxi associations are furious at that decision, but Uber will be legal in Edmonton from March 1 if it complies with several city demands.

In many ways, the path to a legalized Uber should be easier in Toronto, because the province of Ontario now has something that others in Canada do not. Aviva Canada’s new ride-sharing auto insurance policy will make its debut this month, giving Uber drivers their first ever legitimate coverage. The Ontario exclusive policy (Aviva will expand it with time) means taxi drivers have one less objection to the illegal UberX service in place.

However, until the city takes decisive action one way or another, the merry go round will keep going.

FSCO approves Aviva Canada ride-sharing policy

The Financial Service Commission of Ontario has granted regulatory approval to Aviva Canada to launch its ride-sharing specific auto insurance policy in the province. The policy is a huge help to controversial ride-sharing company Uber as it gives its drivers their first ever auto insurance coverage. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) described the policy as a first of its kind in Canada.
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The most interesting result of the FSCO’s decision is that it leaves UberX operatives in Canada’s largest province covered for the first time, but those same drivers are still working in Ontario illegally. That’s because Uber is still yet to receive regulatory permission in the province, in other words the UberX service has not been legalized.
Aviva says it is fulfilling a customer need and filling a space in the market.

“There are a lot of people out there trying to make some extra money, and that’s a great thing, but they’re doing it without the appropriate coverage for themselves and for their passengers as well,” said spokesman Glenn Cooper.

Toronto has recently voted to regulate Uber, but changes have not been implemented yet, while a bill to potentially legalize ride-sharing services in Ontario is still waiting to go before the committees. Champion of that bill, Progressive Conservative Tim Hudak, has described Aviva’s policy as a major step forward and urged the province to legalize sharing companies.

“The longer we delay on an overall ride-sharing legislative framework the less help it is for cabbies, for Uber drivers, for customers and I’m worried that situation, that tension, is going to escalate if the province does not act,” he said.

However, the taxi industry remains hugely critical of Uber and opposition to the company is never likely to cease, even if the company is legalized and regulated fairly. Taxi associations have protested Uber and think the company provides illegal and unfair competition, and as such they have also spoke critically of Aviva’s policy.

“We are very concerned that an Aviva announcement that ‘an approved product exists and is available for purchase’ will be misconstrued by politicians to mean ‘20,000 illegal UberX drivers are now insured,’ Toronto Taxi Alliance president Gail Souter and Canadian Taxicab Association president Marc Andre Way wrote in a letter to Aviva.

Aviva Canada released a statement on its media relations page last week saying that it does not endorse Uber or any other ride-sharing company.

Understanding Aviva Canada’s ride-sharing coverage

Aviva Canada changed the insurance landscape with its early January announcement that it would debut a ride-sharing specific auto insurance policy. The coverage is a first of its kind product in Canada and means UberX drivers who have otherwise been driving for the service with unsuitable auto insurance can now have a legitimate policy and work for the company legally.
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Many drivers simply do not know that in their current situation they are probably operating for UberX without viable auto insurance. The company’s own $5 million liability coverage only covers those with proper commercial auto insurance, but such a dedicated policy has never existed until Aviva Canada’s announcement.

It is thought that most of the UberX drivers in Toronto (there are thought to be 20,000) are working for the service using their own personal policy, which would not cover them if they were in a collision. If you are using your personal insurance policy to work with Uber, here is how the province of Ontario classifies a vehicle that needs commercial coverage:

General Exclusion Except for certain Accident Benefits coverage, there is no coverage under this policy if:
The automobile is used to carry explosives or radioactive material; or
The automobile is used as a taxicab, bus, a sightseeing conveyance or to carry paying passengers. However, we don’t consider the following as situations involving carrying paying passengers:

• giving a ride to someone in return for a ride,

• sharing the cost of an occasional trip with others in the automobile;

• carrying a domestic worker hired by you or your spouse;

• occasionally carrying children to or from school activities that are conducted within the educational program;

• carrying current or prospective clients and customers; or

• reimbursing volunteer drivers for their reasonable driving expenses, including gas, vehicle wear and tear and meals.

Aviva Canada ride-sharing policy could help Lyft enter Canada smoothly

Last week Aviva Canada potentially changed the situation of ride-sharing services by announcing it will debut a specific auto insurance policy next month. While the hot story is that it will help Uber get closer to full regulation in Canada, it is actually a broader policy that incorporates other ride-sharing companies, such as Lyft.

Aviva-logoAt the moment Lyft is not available in Canada, and while the company has not said when it will enter markets outside of the United States, it is likely that Ontario could potentially be a prime expansion area during 2016. The San Francisco based company has said its intention is to expand to other cities outside of the United States this year and going north of the border seems the easiest route.

With Aviva Canada’s new ride-sharing auto insurance policy in place by February, when Lyft does enter the Canadian market much of the hard work may already have been done. The rise of Uber has shown that consumers are happy with ride-sharing, while local authorities and taxi associations are not. The economic potential will eventually sway cities around Canada to regulate Uber and in the process pave the way for Lyft to make an easier entry into the market.

In creating its new policy, Aviva was wise to make sure the proposed coverage would be for all ride-sharing services and not just Uber, recognizing that this is a rising sector. Lyft will be able to arrive in Canada when Uber and Aviva have laid the groundwork, the former dealing with the protests and confusion, and the latter clearing up an auto insurance issue that has plagued the ride-sharing model.

“With ride-sharing on the rise, consumers have new options available to them, however there is a gap in insurance coverage which potentially leaves them without appropriate protection and benefits. When consumer needs change, we must evolve our insurance solutions to respond,” said Greg Somerville, President and CEO of Aviva Canada. “We’re excited to offer a simple and affordable solution within a driver’s existing personal auto policy, thereby providing drivers and passengers with absolute peace of mind that they have insurance coverage while ride-sharing.”