Uber is a popular taxi service that individuals can access directly from their smartphone. The service offers the convenience of taxi-like service where normal taxi transportation services are scarce. The company itself has been under much scrutiny recently. Several of the drivers for the company have launched a series of protests and lawsuits over the amount they are paid and lack of protections for any injuries that are accrued on the job, in the event of a car accident. The company, after much pressure from the drivers involved, developed an insurance plan for its drivers. The plan, however, comes at the cost of a fare hike for riders who make use of this service.
Uber's New Insurance Program
Drivers for the company have been extended a form of insurance. The driver insurance covers the driver's injuries and loss of income from an accident while on the job for up to $1 million of coverage for the associated costs. The insurance only covers drivers while they are driving for the company, and does not provide coverage for any claim that arose while a driver was off duty. The program comes at a cost of 5 cents per mile. The company has stated that the increased cost in mileage is not a profit, but rather an added expense simply to cover the insurance.
The program, while beneficial to drivers, has come under criticism as a move to improve the company's public image, as they have been the subject of criticism from multiple perspectives. While the plan does offer protection to both driver and their family, they must opt in for the program, and passengers will see the increased fare. One representative from the National Employment Law Project has gone on to state that Uber's gesture would be better if the company would pay workers' compensation premiums and cover more of their healthcare.
The insurance program, however, is not extended to anyone who may suffer from an accident caused by an Uber driver, meaning that the Uber driver's own vehicle and personal injury insurance must cover any damages that are a result of an accident. While the insurance program is beneficial for drivers who choose to opt into the program, the program is more restrictive than the company may want to convey. Uber may wish to consider taking greater safety measures for both its own drivers and others on the road, as a few years ago, the company was reported to have been involved in more fatal crashes in New York City than traditional yellow cabs within the area.