First observation: They have finally admitted there have indeed been dangerous insurance coverage gaps in the past, leaving drivers, passengers and innocent pedestrians at risk. They did this while making millions by putting the public at risk.
Second observation: No one should believe anything these companies say until they actually release their full insurance policies.
Why are we so skeptical? For starters, their newest PR push came just hours before they were to answer a subpoena in Chicago demanding that they surrender their insurance policies to the city. Convenient timing.
Let’s also remember that Uber is the company that, when asked to submit its insurance documents in California, did so with page after page of redacted information. When the company was asked to submit its insurance policy in Washington DC, it did so under seal. What’s the big secret? This is an insurance policy, not a matter of national security.
And before public officials are rocked gently to sleep by these empty insurance promises, there are still more reasons for concern. For example, passengers are increasingly flagging down these cars on the street as if they were taxis and paying cash. In that case, such a ride would be completely off the books. When that happens, neither a driver’s personal insurance nor Uber’s or Lyft’s new “expanded” insurance will cover an accident.
As always, Uber’s rhetoric should also be carefully examined. For example, it used to be fond of saying it had “the most stringent” background checks. Now, it has altered this to say “among the most stringent.” It’s a subtle difference they hope people won’t catch. The real question is: Do they fingerprint their drivers and screen them through police-conducted background checks like most taxi companies in major cities do? They don’t. But they want you to believe they are more careful in choosing their drivers than the taxicab or limousine industry. They aren’t, as evidenced by recent news that Uber two convicted felons driving for its uberX service.
We also know that they thumb their noses at any oversight. Officials in in Madison, Wisconsin, issued a cease-and-desist order to Uber and Lyft. Their response? To keep driving passengers (we checked). Drivers say that Uber promised to pay the fine for each infraction. Uber probably sees it as civil disobedience. We see it as another example of their insatiable corporate greed.
So, while Uber and Lyft attempt to paint themselves as responsible companies, remember that they’ve been hiding the truth from us all along. Why should today be any different?