Every driver on Uber and Ola platforms has a story to tell, and if you're in India, those stories have been largely taking a sad turn in recent months. Uber for its part has acknowledged that things aren't as merry as they used to be once. But on Tuesday, it took steps to address some of those issues.
The ride-hailing company on Tuesday announced the first insurance program for drivers, one of the most sought after requests. The San Francisco-headquartered company, which has partnered with ICICI Lombard General Insurance for the program, will be offering driver partners free coverage of accidental death and disablement, hospitalisation, and outpatient medical treatment in case of an accident while working.
Uber, which celebrates its fourth anniversary in India this month, said its new efforts for the 450,000 drivers in the country are a reflection of its commitment to recognise and reward the role driver partners play in its ecosystem. "This is just the beginning, we'll continue to engage with our driver partners and work towards making driving for Uber, not just the most attractive opportunity but also the most preferred choice," Pradeep Parameswaran, head of central country operations of Uber said in a press statement.
Drivers aged between 18 to 65 with four-wheeled vehicles can avail the insurance program, which will offer compensations of Rs. 5 lakh (roughly $7,850) in the event of death and up to the same amount in the event of permanent disability, the company said. As we had reported recently, insurance of any sorts has been one of the most requested demands from Uber drivers in the country. It was also one of the demands they had presented to Uber and Ola earlier this year in February during a week-long strike.
The company said it will offer up to Rs. 2 lakh in the event a driver needed to be hospitalised for medical care, with a sub-limit of up to Rs. 50,000 for outpatient treatment. The new compensation program will be in effect starting September 1.
In the recent weeks, Uber has also also started to roll out features in its app to better compensate the driver. One such feature is that drivers are now compensated for the additional time they spend waiting for the customers. The company also let them avail cancellation fee when a customer hasn't showed up after a certain period of time.