uberxFor the past several months, members of the Seattle City Council have called out companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar for not sharing their insurance policies, saying that they need to see the documents in order to help form requirements for regulation.

Now, though, Uber has answers — but only after an anonymous leaker revealed the previously secret information.

Uber just posted a blog that includes a link to the 33-page policy, which you can view here. The company’s decision to reveal this information comes after an anonymous person on Monday shared Uber’s policy with taxi companies and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, which had confirmed its authenticity.

We just did a quick comparison of the leaked policy and the one Uber shared today, and they look identical.

Uber notes that the company has shared its policy already with city officials and regulators upon request, but that it now is “proud to share it publicly.”

“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,” Uber wrote.

[Related: Here's what happened when my family got hit while riding in a Lyft]

The policy, which kicks in when a drivers’ personal policy cannot cover an incident, is provided by Virginia-based commercial specialty insurer James River Insurance Co. and interestingly notes “Raiser LLC” as the party insured instead of Uber Technologies Inc.

“Rasier is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber Technologies Inc. that partners with ridesharing drivers,” Uber notes in today’s blog post. “All ridesharing drivers have a contract with Rasier.”

Here’s how Uber describes who and what is covered by this 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.

Uber also has a separate policy put into place earlier this month that will cover drivers not only when they are shuttling passengers around town, but also when they are simply “live” on the Uber system ready to accept a ride. Uber has not shared that policy publicly.

Uber’s insurance policies have come into question several times over the past year and especially after the company denied liability after one of its drivers struck and killed a 6-year-old girl in San Francisco. One big issue is whether a driver’s personal policy would even cover damages resulting from an accident since the drivers are providing a commercial service.

Taxi drivers, who pay upwards of $10,000 per year for commercial insurance that is required by the City of Seattle, have also been angry with Uber for not revealing its policies.

New legislation just approved last week by the Seattle City Council require companies like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar to provide underinsured motorist coverage indicating a minimum coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident at any time while active on their dispatch systems.

You can see the full policy below, and we’ll keep updating this story as we learn more.

Comments

  • MichaelTompson

    The so-called ride-sharing companies are misleading general public using extensive social media campaigns. Truth is they are NOT ride-sharing. In reality they are private for-profit commercial transportation companies that drive passengers for PROFIT. By definition – they are TAXI corporations. Ride-sharing IS defined in most state regulations and laws. As such – if laws would not be made exceptional to multi-billion dollar “ride-sharing” California cartel – these so called “startups” – would be regulated with taxi industry regulation. And they will. Distorting reality and playing with words can work for only so long. Time is now to REGULATE all (read: hundreds and more popping every day) “ride-sharing” taxis as taxis – because that’s what they are.

    • Ed O

      Or deregulate all taxis. That would be way better for me, as someone who has put up with horsecrap taxi service at a higher price for years here in Seattle until I started using UberX.

      • MichaelTompson

        Deregulation? Again? Deregulated systems were tried everywhere, and failed everywhere. Read some history. Being young, many think they have invented a sliced bread. Yet again. Truth is regulations came to control chaotic and inconsistent unregulated transportation systems. It worked. And it does. Quality issues can be addressed within the existing framework.

        • Milton Friedman

          The statement that “deregulated systems were tried” and failed is ludicrous. Please show me the date of the last genuinely “deregulated” transportation system in the US.
          The only thing I can think of is the airplane industry and deregulation is working fabulously. In fact the simple fact that so many people can fly now due to competition and thus lower prices is quantitatively attributable to productivity gains.
          Oh I forgot, the other piggish industry that we deregulated that lead to massive productivity gains and even the internet itself is the telecom industry. ATT, who used to charge multiple dollars per minute forecasted incredible doom and gloom. Instead an entire industry was born, prices went to the floor, people could inexpensively and massively increase the amount of long distance calls they made thereby increasing their productive area and it lead the way for the global and internet expansion of US business and drove us in to one of the largest periods of expansion in US history.
          But please, tell me how regulation and stifling of competition will help again? Thanks.

          • MichaelTompson

            Comparing hundreds of thousands of small business owners to ATT monopoly? Really Milton? How Chicagoian. Here is some information but it’s readily available on Google (Uber’s parent/investor) for all to see yet, somehow, ride-sharing rape cases get less and less search results… Hmmm. Must be because no one was clicking on these links, so algorithm discarded them, I’m sure there is no bad intention there….
            NYC taxi industry – unregulated – 1907-1935:
            “Despite the taxicab service’s early success and popularity, the business
            faced legal disputes and labor unrest, forcing it to fold within a few
            years. Even with the rapid rise of taxicabs, there were some major
            problems in the taxicab industry, including a lack of regulation.
            Because of taxis operated under few regulations, there was little
            accountability and service was as varied as the number of fleets in
            operation. The presence of taxis on the road also contributed to a spike
            in car accidents and car-related fatalities. The very first recorded
            traffic accident in New York City involved a taxicab.”

            I’m sure modern day futurists will deny existence of cabs in 1907-1935. And unregulated chaos it caused.

            http://www.nyc.gov/html/media/totweb/taxioftomorrow_history_earlyyears.html

    • lol

      or maybe the regulations need to be revisited… you assume they are necessarily good or right. just because a regulation exists does not mean it’s appropriate in and of itself

      • MichaelTompson

        Truth be told regulations came to existence to regulate the previously unregulated transportation services where fares were random because “it’s Friday night and I feel like it’s 50 bucks”. Regulations ensure consistency of service. Private corporations will focus, well, on their own private profits, most of all. Many industries are regulated – food, bank and hundreds others. Regulations are not evil unless you are a big corporation looking to corner that specific market to milk as much profits as you can.

        • Guest

          Regulations really only make sense when there is no other option. That isn’t the case when you bring in ride sharing companies. If you want regulation so your existing taxi fare structure can be sustained that’s a false reason.

          • MichaelTompson

            Regulated fares in public transportation ensure consistency of service vs corporate price gouging practices already used by private for-profit corporations.

            Here is more info:
            http://gigaom.com/2014/02/26/uber-admits-to-encouraging-surge-pricing-withholding-drivers/

          • Milton Friedman

            “corporate price gouging practices” invites completion (assuming a free market and no government intrusion) which in turn lowers prices.
            It is the consumer, not the government, that ultimately dictates the cost of goods and services.
            Please go back to school.

          • MichaelTompson

            Competition that is based on principles of breaking laws and skipping regulations is not competition. It’s yet another private case of corporate bullying and misrepresentation of facts.

    • Charlie

      So insightful. All this time I thought the fares I was paying Uber were tax deductible donations to a non-profit. Give me a break, everyone knows they are for profit, whats wrong with that?.

      You should be more careful about your word choice. Its ridiculously inflammatory… cartel… really? You want to compare Uber with the Los Zetas cartel in Mexico that has certainly hundreds, if not thousands of people? Do you really think that’s going to sway anyone to your side of this issue?

      Leave your rhetoric at home.

      • MichaelTompson

        Don’t threaten me. This will serve you no purpose. Threats won’t make you right.

        Here are facts. Ride-sharing corporations (valued in billions mind you) – meeting in secret, in closed doors, with no journalists allowed. This is cartel-like behavior. Here is the link:

        http://pando.com/2014/02/25/ridesharing-companies-meet-to-discuss-public-liability-insurance-wont-share-details-with-the-public/

        I would appreciate if we could have a civil discussion here and not childish name-calling filled with occasional threats and worship-like “Ride-sharing will save you!” rhetoric.

        • LOL and then some

          DOUCHE BAG- all companies meet in “secret” with no journalists allowed. No s*&t!!
          My God, Man, how out of touch are you? The only companies that are under any obligation to disclose anything are public companies and companies that take an investment over a certain size. Seriously, are you kidding?

        • Charlie

          I don’t think you know what the word “threaten” means. There were no threats in my post. I’ll provide you a link to the definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/threat

          Companies meet behind closed doors all the time. Furthermore, that blog post write was either purposefully deceptive or the writer also lacks some fundamental reading comprehension skills. States that it is the meeting’s mission to inform riders, but the source they link to states that its the -coalition’s- mission to inform riders. That’s a big different.

          Also, there was no name calling in my post either. Although, I was mocking your argument.

          Why do you think anyone cares what Uber or Lyft’s valuation is? How does that have anything to do with this issue?

          There is also no “Ride-sharing will save you!” rhetoric either. I use the service because it is convenient. If I need a ride home from work because I worked late and missed the bus, an Uber car will be waiting for me before I can get my jacket on, rude the elevator, and get to the sidewalk (2-5 minutes). A taxi cab has always taken 15-25 minutes.

          • MichaelTompson

            Please, by all means, keep using services you like. As a side note, just make sure your “private” driver is not juggling 2 or more phones while driving (because ride-sharing drivers have been caught doing precisely that, while driving, and already caused multiple accidents, including fatal ones). On the subject of accidents, a full commercial liability insurance would be nice. But your iPhone app allows you to rate your driver? How sweet. And that driver has a really cool photo there? And his “independent” reviews are really good? I see. Then scratch that commercial liability thingy. Social internet reviews will beat any commercial liability insurance because hospitals take these reviews as payments. Right? All good here. Keep using what you like.

          • Vatar

            One driver, who was off duty, caused one death. How many people have been killed by taxis?

          • MichaelTompson

            There have been many ride-sharing accidents. Some fatal. Th point is not the ratio of ride-sharing taxis vs regular taxis. The point is that small taxi businesses are required to have commercial insurance while ride-sharing taxis are, for now, let operate with private non-commercial insurance or other form of insurance that doesn’t fully cover commercial transportation. Avoiding same expenses as your competitor providing same exact service is unfair competition.

    • B.S.

      Nothing is more pathetic then the self righteous frothing for more regulations. Give me a break. It is painfully obvious that most of the regulations are in place to limit competition and have nothing to do with improving service. This is a rampant problem in many industries and it is wrong.

      • MichaelTompson

        Truth be told regulations came to existence to regulate the previously
        unregulated transportation services where fares were random because
        “it’s Friday night and I feel like it’s 50 bucks”. Regulations ensure
        consistency of service. Private corporations will focus, well, on their
        own private profits, most of all. Many industries are regulated – food,
        bank and hundreds others. Regulations are not evil unless you are a big
        corporation looking to corner that specific market to milk as much
        profits as you can.

  • Viet Nguyen

    Why is the taxi industry so heavily regulated in the first place? What is the public good here?

    • MichaelTompson

      Because your two blocks ride can’t cost $50, right? Wait… it’s $100? Oh…it’s Thursday and gas went up? Oh ok. You don’t go to my address? Oh…it’s dangerous there? I see….. just drop me off in the area? Please?

      • Guest

        The fare is known upfront. It isn’t like the, um, taxi industry which takes people around the 5x times. You ask the fare, then you make a decision if you can/want to pay for it, then you either buy the service or you don’t. That seems fair to me. There are plenty of options and no one is being forced.
        We now have trains, cars, taxi, Uber et. al, buses, walking, bikes, motorcycles, scooters, etc. There are plenty of options; no ones arm is being twisted.
        Btw, I just took 3 Uber X rides in Boston, all of which occurred during peak times. My total bill was about $60. The service was super fast, I didn’t have to listen to some rude guy jabbering on his phone the entire time, or “watch” a TV show I don’t care about or dust myself off after getting out of the cab and when the ride ended the driver said thank you and I was emailed a receipt automatically.
        But wait, I know, if Uber was regulated this would be improved!

        • MichaelTompson

          Dear Guest, ride-sharing private for profit corporation set the price on THEIR OWN. And, surprise surprise, have already been caught gouging the price.

          “Basically they are trying to rig the system to jack up fares on customers like me.”

          Read full article here:
          http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/26/5445210/in-san-diego-uber-kept-drivers-off-the-road-to-encourage-surge#

          When control will consolidate in a very few private hands, I’m sure the gouging will become far far more creative.

          • Guest

            No, you need to use one of the services so you have a clue as to what actually happens. Prior to actually OK’ing the service there’s a button that says “fare request.” When you press that it tells you what the fare will be and you either OK it or you cancel the car.
            This, btw, is different from a taxi in which you have no idea how much it will cost, whether or not you’ll be able to pay with a credit card, if you’ll have to use the credit card machine in the car or the driver’s “personal” Square reader.. etc.

          • MichaelTompson

            You can’t gouge prices in regulated public transportation cabs. There are meters. Yet, a private corporation who refuses outside fare standards, can do that with relative ease. In fact, it has already happened:

            http://gigaom.com/2014/02/26/uber-admits-to-encouraging-surge-pricing-withholding-drivers/

            You can get $50.00 charge Monday. And $150.00 charge the next day. For the same trip. And guess who decides that…

          • j2k

            Sure you can gouge prices because they can go on roundabout ways. If you complain about an uber driver (i dunno about lyft but probly the same), someone can literally track where the car took you and refund you if it was really roundabout. THAT regulation is NOT in the taxi industry and is why i will never take a taxi again

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Wrong, You can not only compalin to the cab company but also to the city which has a hot line number displayed in the cab. The city can fine the driver and the cab comapny for overcharging.

        • simon

          because right now you have a choice. you can say these “ride sharing” people are asking for $100 on a $10 ride, so let me take a taxi. They will put taxis out of business in the long run though. That’s what they have said. Here is one example:
          http://www.businessinsider.com/ceo-travis-kalanick-on-ubers-pricing-formula-2013-11
          When taxi’s are out, you are at the mercy of these “ride sharing” people. You will stay at home or you will go out on friday night? By the way, that will also directly affect the businesses of restaurants, bars, etc, right? I guess they are also at the mercy of these few people.
          If you are assuming taxis and “ride sharing ” people will co-exist, you are mistaken. The market is not that big. It will not work particularly when these people are cutting price on poor service providers that live on almost daily earning. If you are planning to take taxi only on public holidays, well lets hope you will find them around.

          • Guest

            Ah yes, the “critical” taxi infrastructure. Proof of how irrelevant and out of touch it is? The fact that for 23 years, while the population of Seattle exploded, not a single new cab license was granted.
            Wow, way to serve the public! Lack of cab stands, no hailing, please, it is a joke. Guess what? The joke is over.

          • simon

            If no new taxi license was issued in 23 years, you are right. But what is the solution to it? Do you think Uber and its investors will be more interested flooding the streets with underpaid drivers or with price gouging? I think its price gouging. They will tell you cars are available if …you can afford them?. Your solution should be getting involved with your elected city officials. Some things don’t have an easy solution.
            See once these people have controlled the market, they wont be as easy as cabbies to get rid of. Maybe you have heard this argument before, but tell me if it is wrong.

  • Rick Goondall

    Most of the pro Uber commentaries are simply Uber employees.
    Waste of time arguing them

    • Uber Customer

      Yea, keep telling yourself that. And Uber had 30K employees sign a petition too. I’m not now nor have I ever been an Uber or any other ride share company, employee. I’m just a very satisfied customer who is pissed about the city council.

      • Rick Goondall

        I remember signing an uncertified- unverified petition using 10 names.
        John Schmedlab
        john rickets berg
        John Albert
        John Candy
        John Robbins
        & the list goes on.
        I am very happy for you PRO UBER customer.
        Wow- you even reflect that in ur name.
        I am proud of YOU!

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        LOL. An online petition?

  • Rick Goondall

    If it quacks and walks like a duck – guess what?
    It’s a duck.
    If you drive strangers and charge them money – you are taxi!

  • Guest

    Great! I’m convinced that UberX and Lyft are less expensive, safer, better insured, higher quality, and easier to use than their erstwhile competition. I urge the City Council to, either now or in 2016 after the existing men have been replaced, allow unlimited participation in these new TNCs. Our city’s growth requires a concomitant growth in transportation options. Mass transit won’t be fully operational until 2030 and Metro is perennially going out of business, so the private sector shall step in.

    • simon

      These “ride sharing” scams still have insufficient insurance. When they drive through busy traffic hoping for better gps locations, they are not insured. When they race back from the suburbs back to the busy areas where they pick fares, they are not insured. That creates a public safety hazard for other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Taxis are insured 100% of the time. They are not any more safer than the cars working as taxis. If you haven’t noticed, most of the taxis are highly accident rated vehicles like the Crown victorias, Dodge Grand Caravans, Toyota Siennas, etc.
      Also what you should urge city officials to do is give more taxi licenses and they will listen. They have always listened, but some people sometimes don’t understand the numerous factors they have to consider to make decisions.
      The private sector is already in the taxi business, you wont have to redefine private sector like you attempted to redefine ride sharing. Every taxi company is a private business that agrees to work at a city approved fare which works well for most taxi users.
      The taxi transportation gives people the predictability, the options, and sustainability that they have enjoyed for a long time, and continue to do so.

      • Guest

        Not a scam.

        Sufficient insurance.

        No more taxis are needed.

        Capisce?

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    UberX’s insurance company, James River is a specialty insurer operating on an approved non-admitted basis in all fifty states and D.C. Since the Seattle ordinance specifically requires that TNC “insurance be issued by an admitted carrier in the State of Washington”, James River falls short unless it gets a specail dispensation from the director of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.

    While James River insurance has an office in Virginia, the parent company is incorporated in Bermuda. Among the primary investors is Goldman-Sachs who also are funding Uber.

    Uber is incorported in Switzerland and Raiser in the Netherlands. All off shore to avoid taxes and liability.

    • Rick Goondall

      very good points made.

      • Jim Holm

        Not to be too esoteric, but in my state (MN) it is outside of statute for a non-admitted carrier to issue a policy for primary auto insurance. Since everyone seemingly knows that the “primary” coverage does not exist, this excess policy is a really a primary policy. What is the law regarding exportation of primary auto liability to a surplus lines (non-admitted) company? I believe there are about 20 states that prohibit this practice and they’re generally more populated states such as CA and NY.

        • ClaimsAdjuster

          The City of Seattle for hire ordinance requires that for livery vehicles, now including Uber/Lyft/Sidecar, be insured by an admitted carrier in the State of Washington with at least a B+ rating.

  • http://Facebook.com/justus.aguy Just Aguy

    I am an UberTaxi driver in Chicago, and attended a info/signup session for UberTaxi drivers to switch to doing UberX in their personal cars. Here’s what we were told:
    A)The drivers personal car insr is the PRIMARY insurance for UberX.
    B)UberX DIDN’T ALLOW it’s drivers to carry commercial insr.
    C)ALL claims involving UberX drivers, passengers or a third party would be filed with the drivers insurance.
    I pointed out that my personal car insurance EXCLUDES RIDE-SHARING. And when I asked if Uber could tell me of any insurers that would allow me to work as an UberX driver, they just evaded the question by saying that Uber didn’t make insurance recommendations! Huh?
    Don’t the regulators, insurance industry, reporters, UberX drivers and the riding public see this glaring catch 22. Or am I missing something?
    #UberFraud @chi1cabby

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Getting commercial insurance on your ride would be the smart thing to do. It doesn’t make any sense that Uber would tell you this.

      • http://Facebook.com/justus.aguy Just Aguy

        If UberX required that it’s drivers carry commercial livery insurance, it would make it financially unviable for the those who moonlight as UberX drivers. So instead it went with the business strategy of PROHIBITING it’s drivers from buying commercial insurance! But it’s inducing and perpetuating insurance fraud by UberX drivers. Every single rideshare driver is hiding the fact that they are doing UberX/Lyft/SideCar from the insurance company. When a claims are filed the drivers hope that the insurers never catch on that ride-sharing activity was involved.

  • Thiago

    That’s a pretty open move. I’m just now understanding the distinguishing characteristics between ride sharing and taxi businesses. Here’s hoping these differences can be ironed out for the public’s understanding soon! Thiago | http://www.ianhewitt.com.au/#!commercial-insurance/cyx

  • Thiago

    It’s good that they have this insurance. It’ll hurt if they end up getting outlawed, but I don’t see that happening. Auto insurance is a must for anyone behind the wheel, but that’s doubly true if you’re behind the wheel for business. Thiago | http://www.topratedplans.com

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