Massachusetts Ride-Sharing Rules Lacking?

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  • The rise in popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber have raised a lot of eyebrows nationwide, and prompted quick action from many state governments. However, some in the insurance industry have been critical of a lot of these measures, saying that they don’t go far enough to insulate drivers and insurers alike from risk in the event of an accident. One such state that’s now under fire is Massachusetts, and insurance agents working there might have to work closely with clients in the coming months to help them understand what is and isn’t covered under current regulations.

    The Massachusetts Department of Transportation recently released its regulations for ride-sharing services, but those in the insurance industry have called them a more than a little unclear and too lax, according to a report from the Insurance Journal. One of the biggest issues is the way drivers have to carry proof of insurance, which is already on the books as state law.

    “The regulations that were proposed were rushed through at the last minute by the outgoing administration of [now-former] Gov. Deval Patrick, and they were highly controversial,” Frank O’Brien, vice president of state government affairs for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, told the site. “From an insurance point of view, the regulations are extremely vague, and deficient. The only thing that the regulations essentially require is that a Transportation Network Company driver have proof of insurance.”

    What’s the issue?
    Consequently, having proof of insurance doesn’t really make a TNC driver any different from a regular one, except that insurers typically don’t cover commercial activities such as this under standard policies, the report said. For this reason, it’s expected that the state legislature will take a look at creating more robust laws for these companies in the coming year.

    The more insurance agents can do to help drivers understand the ways in which their personal policies might be affected if they start driving for a ride-sharing service, the better off they might be in terms of being able to help them avoid potentially problematic situations. That might go a long way toward helping agents avoid headaches on their end, while also giving consumers a better understanding of their policies, and what they can do to make sure they’re fully protected. That, in turn, can lead to better customer satisfaction ratings and stronger relationships, which may go a long way toward boosting retention rates going forward.

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