Deliveroo Offers Its Freelancers Free Insurance

In a bold step that goes beyond what other companies in the on-demand economy are offering, Deliveroo has today announced that every rider will be able to benefit from an industry-leading accident insurance package for zero cost. 35,000 riders in 12 countries will be able to claim for the costs of loss of income or medical expenses if they are unable to ride as a result of an injury while working. The insurance is completely free for riders and applies to riders on all vehicle types and their substitutes. The cover is being provided by Bikmo in the UK.

Cyclists will have access to public liability insurance, which has unique features such as also covering a rider’s substitute. The scheme will give Deliveroo cyclists up to £1 million in public liability insurance, and will also cover scooter riders whilst they are off their vehicle. In providing this insurance for free, Deliveroo is helping to protect not only riders but other road users in the event of an accident.

Deliveroo has improved its insurance for riders in the UK:

  • Both third party liability and accident insurance are 100% free with zero cost to riders

  • All riders will be automatically enrolled onto the personal injury cover and cyclists will be automatically enrolled on to the public liability cover, rather than having to opt in

  • Both covers apply to riders’ substitutes

  • Medical expenses are covered up to £7500 (from £2500)

  • Hospital benefit is up to £3,000 (from £1,500)

This insurance is more substantial and wide-ranging than comparable products for those working in the on-demand economy. Giving riders access to this product is expected to cost the company at the outset, almost £10 million. Deliveroo has worked with the insurance providers to help them ensure that the insurance policies meet the needs of riders who work with the company.

The availability of this new insurance cover comes after Deliveroo has said that it wants to protect the flexibility riders value while offering them more security when working. Deliveroo would like to go further and offer riders more benefits, but this runs the risk of courts reclassifying riders’ employment status, which could reduce riders’ ability to work flexibly. Deliveroo is campaigning for a change in the law so that riders can have both flexibility and security.

Will Shu, Deliveroo CEO and Founder:

‘It’s important that Deliveroo riders are protected whilst out on the road, so we’re delighted that this leading insurance package will be available to all riders completely free.

‘We know riders value the flexibility of being able to fit their work around their life, but they also deserve security if they’re involved in an accident. This insurance gives riders security whilst they’re out delivering great food and maintains the flexible work they value.

‘This is just one way we are working to increase riders’ security. We would like to go further, but are currently constrained by the law. Deliveroo will continue arguing for the law to be updated so on-demand companies can offer both flexibility and security.’

Insurance-Edge Comment;

This is an interesting development because delivery riders or drivers are by definition high risk individuals. Those who cycle in London, or any major city, at night, know how dangerous the traffic can be. The nature of the occupation is another risk factor, as riders try to delivery food within a tight time frame.

Accidents are going to happen and – in rare cases – pedestrians can be seriously hurt by a rider hitting them at 25mph. The question is will the insurer see this a sustainable business in the medium term as the complex, long term injury claims roll in? 

It’s also interesting to note that by offering a benefit like insurance and sick pay Deliveroo could eventually be seen as an employer, rather than a company offering freelance work by the hour. But another test case would have be fought by employment law specialists on that matter.

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