Tue, Oct 15, 2019 - Page 12 News List

FSC to urge food firms to insure drivers

NO PROTECTION:In the US, Uber Eats provides insurance for its deliverers, but its local unit does not offer such coverage, despite low insurance costs, a lawmaker said

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday said it will urge online food delivery platform operators to purchase accident insurance for their drivers after two couriers were killed in traffic crashes on Thursday and Sunday.

As the couriers were not insured against accidents by their employers, Foodpanda Taiwan Co (富胖達) and Uber Eats Taiwan, which hire drivers as contractors rather than employees, their families will likely receive compensation of up to NT$2 million (US$65,317) each from the Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance (CALI), the commission told a question-and-answer session at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Finance Committee.

All drivers are required to purchase CALI as minimum insurance in case of traffic accidents.

However, its perceived insufficient coverage caused a furor among lawmakers, who accused the food delivery companies of doing too little to protect their drivers.

“In the US, Uber Eats provides insurance for its drivers, who are on the job immediately after an order is placed via the app, but the local unit does not offer such coverage, even though it does not cost much to purchase accident insurance,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.

As many food couriers are students who do not know how to protect their rights as workers, the government should stand up for them and ask the platform operators to do more, Lai said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Karen Yu (余宛如) said that delivery service operators are not willing to purchase accident insurance for their drivers because they do not view them as employees.

According to the contract between Foodpanda and its delivery personnel, couriers are responsible for their own safety or any damage caused by accidents.

The government should fix this loophole, she added.

Commission Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said food delivery service providers should take responsibility and provide sufficient insurance for their couriers.

Although the commission cannot directly supervise the companies, it would ask the Non-life Insurance Association to send letters to the Ministry of Labor to suggest suitable insurance products within one week, Koo said.

Uber Eats yesterday said it regrets the tragedy and that it would provide assistance to its driver’s family.

Only couriers who have signed contracts with its freight forwarding partners in Kaohsiung and Taoyuan as well as Pingtung County are insured against accidents, with compensation of up to NT$2 million, Uber Eats said.

The company said it plans to extend the coverage to all drivers by the end of this year by asking all partners to purchase accident policies.

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