Uber, the app-based alternative car service that has been trying to break into the Tampa, Miami and Orlando markets over the past couple of years, is pushing hard for their supporters to encourage state lawmakers to approve legislation that would make it easier for them to do business in the Sunshine State.
Currently the car service app is available in Florida in just one market — Jacksonville. However, bills being pushed by Tampa Bay area Republicans Jamie Grant and Jeff Brandes this legislative session are trying to change that — but not without a powerful pushback from the taxi and limousine service industry.
A website called WhosDrivingYou.org
, created by the Taxicab, Limousine, & Paratransit Association, an international non-profit trade association, was created last month.
The juicy document on the site this week is Uber's insurance policy for drivers, something that the San Francisco-based company has managed up until now to keep out of the hands of the public. But the San Francisco Bay Guardian
obtained the 33-page document over the weekend, and posted
it on Monday. The Guardian
reports that a number of lawsuits filed against Uber so far show that the company has been unwilling to pick up the tab, and at a state insurance hearing in the state capital last week, "the personal automobile insurance industry blasted Uber for shifting some insurance liability onto its drivers’ personal insurance policies."
In a press release, Who's Driving You quotes William Rouse, general manager of Los Angeles Yellow Cab and past president of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, noting that an obvious problem concerns the fact that Uber is insuring as “Rasier LLC” but contracts with drivers through Uber:
"This is some sort of corporate shell game. The policy states that insurance kicks in only when Rasier LLC is liable. But Uber — not Rasier LLC — is the company providing for-hire transportation across the U.S.," said Rouse.“This could be the mechanism Uber uses to avoid paying out any insurance whatsoever. Why would any city allow Uber to operate on its streets with the company’s deceitful practices now on full display?”
The website also asks drivers for Uber, Lyft or Sidecar (similar app-based car services being used around the country whose services Grant and Brandes say they want to offer in Tampa) if they've had a bad experience on the job to detail that experience.
Uber is now responding with an extensive blog post
on their site, penned by spokesperson Nairi Hourdajian, regarding their ride-sharing insurance policy.
Uber has shared this policy before, doing detailed reviews with city officials and regulators across the country. We have also previously posted the Certificate of Insurance along with details about the policy. This is, however, the first time we have published the entire policy for the public at large. We are confident it is a best-in-class policy and hope that this additional transparency addresses any remaining questions about the insurance provided to ridesharing partners on our platform
And Hourdajian lays out who and what are covered by the policy:
This policy covers the liability of 1) ridesharing drivers (described as “Named Operators” in the policy) who have accepted a trip and are en route to pick up passengers or that are transporting passengers to their destination 2) Rasier and 3) Uber Technologies, Inc. Liability coverage is up to $1 million per incident for bodily injury or property damage to passengers or any other third parties, such as pedestrians, other vehicles, buildings, etc. The policy also covers bodily injury caused by uninsured and underinsured motorists up to $1 million/incident, so that no matter who is at fault, coverage is in place.
Although these issues have become white-hot in various cities where Uber operates, it hasn't been discussed that extensively in Tallahassee or Tampa. Not yet, anyhow; depending on how much success Grant and Brandes have with their legislation, however, you can expect much more pushback from the taxicab and limousine services industry.