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Bill proposes Uber, Lyft insurance requirements


    Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill to close the gap in car insurance coverage for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill to close the gap in car insurance coverage for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Supporters of the bill say right now, Uber and Lyft drivers might not be covered by insurance for accidents and injuries depending on whether a passenger is in the car. The Hawaii bill would set rules for insurance requirements for transportation network companies and their drivers.

Nationwide, about 30 states have passed laws to close insurance loopholes for transportation network companies.

The original Hawaii bill would have set regulations for insurance for self-storage facilities. But after another bill to regulate Uber and Lyft died in the House, lawmakers in the Senate gutted the part about self-storage facilities to replace the language with insurance regulations for transportation network companies.

“It didn’t make it out of the house for some reason,” said Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D, West Maui, South Maui), who heads the Senate committee where the bill was changed. “It will protect both consumers and the drivers of the transportation network companies ensuring that they have appropriate coverage.”

Supporters of the bill say that Uber and Lyft drivers currently might not be covered by insurance for accidents if the app is on when a passenger isn’t in the car. The proposal would also require transportation network companies to provide written disclosure of the fact that drivers’ personal insurance policies may not cover accidents or injuries while they’re working.

“A regulatory and statutory framework is needed to protect not only drivers, but their passengers and the public by closing the insurance gaps that left drivers and the public vulnerable in an accident,” said Mark Sektnan, vice president of Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

But Uber and Lyft opposed the measure, saying it doesn’t set clear and comprehensive rules that protect the public’s safety and consumer choice.

“The bill contains a number of ambiguities that will result in confusion in the marketplace and likely lead to litigation,” said Brian Hughes, the general manager of Uber Hawaii.

The Hawaii bill is very different from those passed in other states, and would have to be “substantially changed” for Uber to be able to operate under it, Hughes said.

Meanwhile, the Honolulu City Council is also considering a proposal to treat transportation network companies like taxis. Opponents say it could drive companies like Uber and Lyft out of the state.

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  • When our bought and paid for city council and state legislature finally run popular consumer options out of state and their paymasters, the taxi mafia lobby wins, won’t we all be happy???
    We’ll continue to be that cute little podunk tropical getaway for snowbirds and naive Japanese, if they can still tolerate the ever increasing and aggressive homeless psych cases wandering the streets.

    • It’s incredible how local politicians are allowed to completely sell-out the island. Worst traffic in the nation, and they approve a new housing development with a start-up of 3.500 new homes. Not only can our streets not handle the traffic we have now, we can’t process the sewage we create now, but hey! Let’s build some more. BRILLIANT

  • This is simple. You need insurance to operate a car. If it is used to transport paying customers, the liability goes up and so does the insurance. What ‘s the problem?

  • I have several friends who use Uber because it’s a much cheaper alternative than owning a car and even less expensive than taking a taxi. If our elected officials wanted to do something to help the average citizen, give the taxi cab industry an option to compete with Uber and Lyft. Leave it to our elected officials who want to regulate it to death by making them conform to taxi business model. If they wanted to do something to help the average citizen, give the taxi cab industry an option to compete with Uber and Lyft. Not the other way around……

  • The local cab services have improved greatly, since the Uber service has entered this market. The consumers are benefitting from this improvement.

  • Why is it every time that there is an option to have something help the every day working person, our city and county board and state officials ALWAYS find a way to screw us. Here is an ideal for you clowns who are bought and paid for by certain industry groups and unions, stay out of my wallet and do your job that WE ELECTED you for. Time vote you clowns out of office and ban you from every running again.

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