State regulators moving to deal with ride-sharing services

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  • In the last year or two, a lot of attention in the auto insurance industry has been paid to the impact that ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft will have on liability and the sector as a whole. Now, at long last, the nation’s leading industry regulators at the state level are moving to deal with these companies, their employees, and the additional risk involved. That’s likely to be good news for the auto insurance sector as a whole, and it might therefore be wise for insurance agents to make sure they’re working closely with their clients to help them better understand what these potential changes will mean for them.

    Earlier this week, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners signed off on a white paper that will serve as a guideline for state legislatures and regulatory bodies when it comes to dealing with “transportation network companies” that use smartphone apps to connect drivers to passengers, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Given the fact that these programs often lead to at least some coverage gaps, it’s an issue that many in the insurance field have long said needed to be addressed.

    Why is this a problem and what’s being done?
    Essentially, the issue here is that drivers for Uber, Lyft, and others are using their personal liability while driving for commercial purposes, the report said. As such, if a vehicle is damaged or a person is injured in the course of a ride-sharing drive, there could be many issues that arise. However, as if to head states off at the pass in some regards, Uber and Lyft have both recently reached deals with many major auto insurers to help address this problem before it needs to be more seriously dealt with at the regulatory level.

    When changes like this come for the auto insurance industry as a whole, it’s often incumbent upon agents to talk with their clients and let them know how any regulatory shifts might end up affecting them. And while some drivers may find changes vexing for them personally, they might also walk away feeling better about their coverage overall, because open communication is often the foundation of a good working relationship between agent and client. That, in turn, tends to drive more customer satisfaction, which itself is key to maintaining and even boosting retention rates going forward.

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