Uber is once again blurring the lines between independent contractor and employee. This time the ride-hailing service is offering insurance to its drivers as part of a pilot program in Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia according to regional publication PennLive. The injury-protection insurance is only active when a driver is logged into the app at the cost of $0.0375 per-mile. In at least a few of those markets, that will raise the per-mile price for passengers by $0.05. So, it seems the rates going up are to ensure that nothing comes out of the driver's pocket. Uber says that the increase was determined by how much the insurance would cost after taxes and fees.
"Uber is not making any money off of this," Uber's head of safety and insurance Gus Fuldner told PennLive. "We believe drivers should have a low-cost option for protecting themselves and their families from rare and unpredictable accidents that prevent them from working."
The maximum payout is $1 million and benefits will cover medical expenses and lost income for drivers. Late last month, Uber began offering insurance to drivers in the United Kingdom. Unlike the domestic program, that insurance plan came at an annual fee versus charging per-mile.
We've reached out to Uber for additional information regarding the stateside debut and will update this post should it arrive.
Update: Uber says that the insurance program is opt-in and that the raised rates apply to all drivers in all states the program is in, whether they choose to be insured or not. The insurance could come to other states as well.