Uber Canada drivers to be covered under ride-hailing insurance plan in Alberta

EDMONTON – Uber Canada says Alberta’s new insurance policy for ride-hailing companies could pave the way for it to resume service in the province.

Intact Financial Corp. (TSX:IFC) said is to begin offering coverage for Uber drivers in Alberta on Friday and will work with regulators in Ontario and Quebec to provide similar insurance coverage later this year.

“This new ride-sharing insurance structure is a key step to bring Uber back to Edmonton and support our efforts to serve Albertans across the province,” Ian Black, Uber’s general manager, said Wednesday in a release.

Uber suspended its operations in Edmonton and Calgary in the last year after wrangling with the province and cities over how the industry should be regulated.

Alberta announced a new insurance policy on Tuesday for ride-hailing companies that requires them to provide up to $2 million in third-party liability insurance, with optional collision or comprehensive coverage.

Karim Hirji, an Intact Financial spokesman, said every driver operating on the Uber platform in Alberta will automatically be covered under the new policy provided by subsidiary Intact Insurance Co.

The insurance will kick in the instant a ride is accepted on Uber’s mobile app and last until a passenger has left the vehicle, he said.

“With the growing popularity of ride-sharing, we are excited to offer innovative insurance products to meet the evolving needs of consumers,” Hirji said in a release.

Under Alberta’s regulatory plan, all drivers for ride-hailing companies must also undergo a detailed police check and obtain a Class 1, 2 or 4 licence.

Despite praising the insurance policy developed by Alberta’s superintendent of insurance, Uber has not set a date for when its drivers will resume working in the province.

“As of today, we do not have any specific information on a possible relaunch of our services in cities across the province (Alberta),” Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, an Uber spokesman, wrote in an email.

“We continue to review the new regulations announced by the Alberta government … and their impact on our operating model.”

Alberta-based TappCar, which operates in Calgary and Edmonton, said it is reviewing the insurance policy, but has no problems complying as long as the rules apply to all ride-hailing companies.

The NDP government passed legislation this past spring meant to ensure that drivers with ride-hailing companies don’t have a criminal record, are qualified behind the wheel and are covered by insurance if there is an accident.