As the sharing economy matures, new impacts on the insurance industry are felt with every new corner case that comes up. In ride-sharing specifically, questions about liability in case of an accident have been explored from the beginning of its ascendance.
But protecting a driver involved in the accident hasn’t always been top-of-mind. With many drivers depending on the supplemental income from Uber, as well as putting their own cars at risk, Aon saw an opportunity to develop a unique product to plug that hole.
In late June, the broker, along with insurance partner OneBeacon and Uber itself launched a Driver Injury Protection product. The insurance coverage, which pays out weekly or health benefits while a driver recovers from an accident, is heavily integrated with the mobile-first Uber experience.
“The primary concern for any independent worker is how they get benefits the would get as an employee of a traditional company,” says Randy Nornes, EVP of Aon Risk Solutions. “The people who work on a variable basis have a particular problem.”
That’s because insurers don’t know exactly how much those drivers are working, or how much they’re making, on average, in order to calculate a premium or benefits.
For Aon, the answer lay in Uber’s driver data. Premiums are automatically deducted, at a rate of under four cents per on-trip mile, according to the Uber app. That ensure that the insurer gets a good handle on how much income replacement a driver might need (up to $500 per week in benefit is available). And, since the premium payment is integrated with the driver’s earnings, the experience is like signing up for a traditional deduction.
“Usually one would buy an insurance product, and every month it’s the same,” Nornes says. “But here you have different usage every week. The benefits have to be variable to how much you’re actually working, but the activity is captured because that’s what they do. Getting the data is not the challenge.”
In addition to data and payments, drivers can toggle the coverage on and off as they please right within the Uber app as well, Nornes notes. And this is just the beginning, he adds: The onset of big data and analytics capabilities, in conjunction with digital distribution, is opening up more opportunities for variable-length insurance products.
“We work with all kinds of businesses that are thinking about the concept of embedding insurance with a usage-based concept,” he says. “It’s a different way of distribution that runs in the background, so you’re really paying for what you use as opposed to averages.”
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