Why this NYC Yellow Cab company is giving it’s drivers $25,000 of Life insurance

United Taxi Management, one of New York City’s largest taxi garages, has launched an Inclusive Insurance program with ostraa to ease the financial and emotional strain of its drivers.

The program is the first of its kind for NYC taxi drivers.

“Ridesharing apps have hurt the welfare of our drivers,” says UTM owner Savas Tsiritsidis. “We see this partnership as a way to bring stability to our business and the livelihoods of our drivers.”

Designed by drivers’ needs

Launched on January 1, the program uses an incentives-based structure, designed with comprehensive input from drivers. The program bridges important gaps of coverage for independent contractors left by conventional insurance plans.

“The design of this program was inspired by what drivers told us they wanted and, because of that, we think it’s going to make a difference,” Tsiritsidis said.

For each month UTM drivers meet certain driving thresholds, they get access to insurance rewards for themselves and their families. For 12 shifts completed, drivers receive free discounts on dental, vision and pharmacy cost, up to 50% of their billable value. For 24 shifts completed, drivers receive the discounts, as well as $25,000 in guaranteed-issue term life and $25,000 accidental death and dismemberment insurance, both of which are key protections for cab drivers.

Read more about the program in recent coverage in El Diario and Patch.

Solving for drivers’ challenges

Recent press in numerous publications, including The New York Times, New York Post, and Wired, have featured the challenges cab drivers face due to financial distress. As we’ve written in previous posts, independent contractors like cab drivers are struggling in the “gig” economy. And one model of helping these 1099 workers is with Inclusive Insurance.

Listening to drivers first

Prior to designing the program, ostraa conducted numerous interviews with drivers, ensuring their anonymity so that they would be safe to share their honest views without professional repercussions.

UTM drivers spans a wide spectrum of ages and national origins. The majority are married with children. The main concerns, expressed by many drivers, informed the Inclusive Insurance program design:

  • Offsetting the financial burdens of traditional insurance
  • Providing for their family while living, and after their passing
  • Supporting their family’s well-being and happiness
  • Saving money for the future

Some of the issues and comments drivers made also informed the design of the program:

  • “This is the way we should be. The civilized world should do this.”
  • “This would be a game changer — Uber doesn’t offer this.”
  • “[Managers] often are focusing on how to take. Now they are focusing on how to give.”
  • “There are a lot of loyal drivers; [management] offers nothing.”
  • “[I’d drive] as many shifts as I can, if they provide [benefits]. If I’m available, I’ll work.”

Serving drivers and UTM with loyalty mechanics

By offering Inclusive Insurance, UTM aims to increase driver retention and the garage’s appeal to new drivers, ultimately increasing the total number of shifts worked.

Inclusive Insurance and supporting the welfare of its drivers is becoming part of UTM’s brand.

To UTM drivers, rideshare companies are viewed as “big corporations”, versus UTM as “local business”. Some drivers prefer working for a family-owned local business, and UTM is seen as more of a local operation than Uber of Lyft. Inclusive Insurance is furthering this appeal of UTM by providing quantitative and meaningful offerings.

UTM is effectively leveraging loyalty mechanics to strengthen its brand and building its fleet of qualified and loyal drivers. This strategy is set to increase UTM’s quality of service to further inspire customer loyalty.

Paving the way for other employers of independent contractors

Around the world, inclusive insurance has proven to be an effective model for providing tailored, affordable insurance products to individuals that need it most. The UTM program represents the first large-scale effort to provide inclusive insurance in the U.S. Ultimately, ostraa has ambitions to roll this program out to drivers, contract workers and others that are among the 138 million Americans who are financially vulnerable.

“This partnership with UTM is only the initial step,” said ostraa CEO Maximilian Weiner. “Over time, we anticipate broadening out the delivery of our products to different verticals across the country.”
“Inclusive insurance provides an inventive approach to tackling one of the country’s most chronic issues. The problem of healthcare may be bigger than any one company or government body, but this program is a small-scale demonstration of how innovative concepts can chip away at the issue and go a long way in ensuring the physical and financial well-being of underinsured Americans.”

Learn how an Inclusive Insurance program can benefit your business. Contact us as Maximilian.Weiner@ostraa.com.