Ride-sharing insurance comes to Alberta today

By: Vin Heney on July 1, 2016

Today, new rules regarding insurance coverage for Transportation Network Companies in Alberta go into effect allowing ride-sharing companies to have government-approved insurance for their drivers.

The new coverage means companies such as Uber will be allowed to set up operations in the province by either purchasing a government approved policy to cover all of its drivers or by letting drivers purchase coverage from their own insurers through coverage endorsements. One of the first insurance companies that will be offering a ride-sharing endorsement in the province is Aviva, who announced in a press release that their coverage will be available starting August 1.

Uber already resumed operations in Edmonton this morning, as was expected after the company had to back out to comply with the city’s new ride-sharing regulations. The company hasn’t made any hints that it would try returning to Calgary. The city’s regulations for ride-sharing were simply not conducive to Uber’s business model because its laws would require drivers to pay fees to operate legally.

According to the government’s press conference, they will be holding the TNC responsible for making sure drivers follow the new regulation by holding monthly audits of TNCs. The new regulation, which exists alongside city regulations, specifies some basic requirements for ride-sharing services including the requirement of a commercial class driving license. Not the standard class 5 most drivers have. Most Uber drivers are unlikely to want to have to switch licences to operate in the province, which makes their announcement to start service immediately on July 1 a little confusing. The penalty for violating the regulation is a maximum fine of $50,000 per day.

Alberta-based ride-share  company TappCar has operated using both commercial licenses and commercial insurance since its inception earlier this year. The regulations are well suited for the company, which could maybe make use of the new insurance policy to provide more affordable options for part-time drivers.

Alberta is the first province to approve a new insurance form for ride-sharing companies. Previously, insurance coverage was available to drivers through an Aviva extension.