by James Chalmers

The ACT has become the first region to explicitly legalise ridesharing services such as Uber, as the insurance industry begins to catch on to the opportunities provided by the sector.

Last week, the ACT Government moved to regulate ridesharing, offering driver accreditation after driving and criminal history checks. Vehicles will also need to undergo a safety check and be fully insured.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) welcomed the move, and called on other states to clarify their positions on ridesharing.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan says the ACT scheme reflects features the ICA has been pushing for some time.

“The introduction of a separate compulsory third party insurance (CTP) category for ride-hail drivers will reflect the higher risk they are likely to represent due to spending on average more time on the road,” he says.

“It also means that, like taxi and hire car drivers, their higher CTP premiums will deliver adequate funds to meet claims without forcing private motorists to subsidise their costs.”

NRMA, which offers cover for UberX drivers in NSW, Queensland and the ACT, also hailed the decision.

NRMA Insurance Executive General Manager, Product and Underwriting, Tracy Green says ridesharing is here to stay.

“NRMA Insurance is open to working collaboratively with government and road transport networks to develop appropriate insurance solutions for ridesharing activities,” she says.

“We look forward to working with the ACT Government as they develop a customised CTP and property insurance regime tailored to the sharing economy.”

The NSW Government is currently reviewing its approach to regulating taxis and ridesharing services.

For more on broking opportunities in the sharing economy, keep an eye out for the upcoming issues of Insurance & Risk Professional, out soon.