Pickett urges PUC to address insurance coverage gaps for ride-sharing companies

Pennsylvania state Rep. Tina Pickett, the chairman of the state House Insurance Committee, recently urged the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) to address gaps in insurance coverage for ride-sharing companies as part of the review process.

During a hearing before the committee last month, ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber said they could not detail the specifics of insurance coverage during use of their services.

Pickett said in her letter to the PUC that while Lyft and Uber provide excess insurance coverage, the companies rely on the driver's insurance to provide primary coverage.

"In reality, with the driver undertaking a commercial enterprise by providing rides to fare-paying customers, the livery exclusion in a driver's personal policy will be in effect to the detriment of the driver and passengers," Pickett said.

Additionally, Pickett said in her letter that the companies' contracts with their drivers may also complicate the issue of insurance coverage.

"I am hopeful that the PUC will closely examine these agreements to ensure clarity as to who is providing coverage and which entity is covered," Pickett said, pointing to areas where clarity is needed, such as when the driver opens the ride-sharing app, goes to the pick-up destination, transports passengers and returns home. "Without requiring clarity now, drivers and accident victims will be required to pursue clarity through costly and lengthy litigation."

Judges ruled last week that Uber and Lyft must cease and desist operations in the state, citing safety concerns, adding that the companies must receive approval to operate from the PUC, CNET reports.