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Florida FlagAn insurance policy designed specifically to cover the unique risks of Uber drivers was determined to meet state regulations in Florida last week, though some questions remain.

The state, which has run into conflict with the ridesharing company since it began operating there in April 2014, has been attempting to regulate Uber in the same manner as taxicab and limousine services.

One of regulators' primary concerns was whether Uber's commercial auto insurance policy met state standards in its ability to cover the risk of providing transportation services to customers. The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission asked state insurance regulators to consider the policy, provided by James River Insurance.

The Uber policy is written on the same "Business Auto" form often used for taxicabs and limousines, and includes a $1 million policy limit each for liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. This outstrips Florida state requirements on taxis and limousines, which ask for limits of $125,000 per person for bodily liability, $50,000 for property damage and $250,000 per incident.

"The policy appears to follow the typical business auto policies that are used by licensed and admitted carriers in Florida to provide coverage for commercial autos," said Monte Stevens, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

"The policy provides first-dollar coverage while the auto is being driven by the Uber driver and when the auto is providing livery services as recorded through the Uber application."

The decision was an important milestone for the Uber policy, as insurance concerns have been plaguing the company since the beginning of its operations in the US. Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett said the ruling was no surprise to the company.

"The OIR has confirmed what we have said all along," Bennett said. "It's clear that we've demonstrated our insurance policy is best in its class and has set a new standard for quality and safety in the transportation industry."

However, Stevens has one hold out — the state Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) must settle the issue of whether the policy, combined with a personal auto policy belonging to the driver, will provide necessary coverage under the Florida Financial Responsibility Law.

The law stipulates that commercial auto coverage be issued by a licensed admitted insurer. It does not address policies issued by non-admitted excess and surplus lines insurers like James River.

The DHSMV, however, said it will not weigh in on the issue until action is taken by the state legislature, which will convene March 3.

Protect your business' vehicles. Call Prestige Insurance Group, Inc. at (305) 969-9776 for a Miami commercial auto insurance quote.

(Article courtesy: Insurance Business America)
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