Caviar will cover medical costs for injured couriers

It's not perfect, but it addresses a major gap in gig economy insurance.

Insurance for app-based couriers and drivers tends to be inconsistent. It's not always available, sometimes costs drivers extra and may be focused more on protecting the company than the worker. Square's restaurant delivery service Caviar is addressing this gap by launching Occupational Accident coverage that will cover costs for injuries suffered on the job. If they're hurt picking up or delivering food, they'll receive up to $1 million per accident, $100,000 in accidental death and survivor's benefits and disability pay that equates to 50 percent of their average weekly earnings. This won't cost extra to couriers, and it starts the very moment they start accepting customers.

This only applies to on-the-job injuries, and the disability pay won't amount to much when couriers tend to work part-time (since few restaurants are busy around the clock). And there's no question that this is as much a marketing tool as it is a practical benefit -- it could attract drivers burned by rival services, and burnishes the company's image. Even so, it's hard to object too strongly when it could put pressure on other services to improve the treatment of their workers.