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Tech

Insurance Commissioner Holds Car Share Service Hearings To Ensure Consumer Protection

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Lyft Rideshare Service

Rideshare services like Lyft are gaining in popularity, but face scrutiny over regulation. (Essdras M Suarez/Getty Images)

BobButler_KCBS_0001r2 Bob Butler
Bob grew up as a Navy brat, living in Cambridge, Long Beach,...
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— California’s Insurance Commissioner will hold a hearing Friday to gather information about transportation network companies such as UberX and Sidecar with hopes to make sure that consumers are protected.

The hearing is set to begin at 1 p.m. and while some may like them and some may not, Jones has said that everyone should know that there are risks involved.

“Auto insurers typically have, in their personal auto-insurance policies, exclusion for your use of your car to carry other people,” Jones said.

Which means you may not be covered if there’s an accident. The Department of Insurance requires these companies to carry $1 million in liability coverage as mandated by the state Public Utilities Commission, but Jones said many unanswered questions remain.

“That’s why we’re holding the hearing is to better understand where there may be insurance coverage gaps that might jeopardize consumers whether the consumer is a passenger, pedestrian or a driver of a car,” Jones said.

Jones called the services innovative and said California welcomes entrepreneurship, but at the same time said that when new technologies and businesses come to market that the consumer needs to be protected.

KPIX 5, KCBS and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said the issue is bigger than just insurance and the ride shares involved, but that it’s an example of the collision between the tech industry and bureaucracy.

“The question is between regulated and unregulated and how far we as a state want to go with this whole new concept that it’s a free and open environment, whether it’s a car that you’re calling instead of a cab,” he said.

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