by Curtis Scott, Head of Insurance
Demand for independent work is on the rise. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, roughly one in six people would prefer independent flexible work over a traditional nine-to-five job. Moreover, with around 15 million people in the US experiencing unemployment or underemployment, on-demand work like Uber presents new opportunities for more Americans to earn a living on their own terms.
However, flexible work comes with tradeoffs. Independent workers forego traditional benefits like workers compensation for control over their time and schedule, and purchasing comparable insurance on the private market can be prohibitively expensive at all rungs of the economic ladder.
While working with Uber can be empowering, being your own boss does not need to come at the expense of income security. At a basic level everyone should have the option to protect themselves and their loved ones against rare and unforeseen work accidents that prevent them from earning a living. This protection should be optional yet affordable, flexible but dependable.
That is why Uber is working closely with Aon to pilot an insurance product, Driver Injury Protection, that allows drivers to access peace of mind for a few cents per mile directly through the Uber app.
The new product provides Uber driver-partners the option to obtain coverage for medical expenses, disability payments and a survivors benefit resulting from a covered accident. Drivers who elect to enroll are protected for injuries while online, en route and on-trip in connection with the Uber app; however the premium of $0.0375 a mile is calculated and charged only for miles travelled while on-trip.
Importantly, the accident medical expense benefit provides coverage to a maximum of $1 million, with no deductible or co-pay. Driver enrollment in this insurance coverage is completely optional. To help drivers take advantage of this option and remove financial barriers to enrollment, drivers will earn more per-mile in states where Driver Injury Protection is available, as displayed in their partners.uber.com portal.
This new product features usage-based pricing on a per mile basis. This provides important and affordable protections to ensure stability and security for participants in the on-demand economy, while preserving the flexibility of on-demand driving.Deductions are clearly shown in the Uber app.
For complete coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, Uber drivers can visit the program’s website.
While the Driver Injury Protection insurance offered to Uber’s driver-partners is first-of-its-kind, it is the latest example of “benefits” designed primarily for independent workers. In the US, for example, 150,000 drivers have been able to access health coverage through Stride Health.
Drivers can also file their taxes and claim returns through our partnerships with Stride, TurboTax and H&R Block, cashout their earnings instantly with Instant Pay, and receive discounts on fuel and other operational expenses.
Outside of the US, Uber is also working on protection options for drivers who use the app. For example, in the UK in April, we announced a partnership with the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), giving drivers access to, amongst other things, sickness and injury coverage, occupational accident coverage, and accidental death or permanent total disablement coverage.
With Uber, people can get work at the push of a button. Ensuring that this work provides opportunity and security for our drivers is core to our business. It is why we will continue to look at innovative options and strategies that support our drivers to access and take advantage of independent work.