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UberEats is now two years old in Europe and like most Gig economies is under deep scrutiny by government regulators. One of the main area's that Gig economy companies face is how they classify their drivers and couriers. All of the Gig companies classify their drivers and couriers as independent contractors, which means "self-employed." One of the biggest issues with this classification is how the driver/courier is managed and what their freedoms are. The lines are blurred, and that is what regulators and unions eye gig economies with vehemence.
One of the biggest issues facing drivers/couriers is their insurance plans. A self-employed contractor must cover him/her self since they are not employees, their income is gross before tax and payments to third parties, including insurance companies. One of the biggest issues has been that gig companies do provide discounted insurance coverage, only if the contractor pays for it.
Recently, UberEats has offered in Europe a comprehensive insurance package that will ensure their couriers for accidents, hospitalization, property damage and any third-party injuries. UberEats partnered with Axa to provide this policy and will cover the fees for their contractors. This means all UberEats couriers will now have basic coverage while delivering.
There is a downside to the coverage, in that it seems to be more of a publicity stunt rather than a real act of care for their contractors. While the paid for coverage plan is already a step in the right direction, it does not cover couriers during their waiting periods. Which means, if a courier is not delivering, but is logged onto the app, and is involved in an accident, the policy does not cover the incident.
Another interesting fact regarding UberEats in the UK is that all UK citizens are covered by the NHS for the basic hospitalization so that part of the policy is irrelevant. Having stated this, UberEats is at least offering a partial coverage paid for by them, unlike Deliveroo couriers that have no coverage at all.
Our take is that while the gig economies are taking the flak, their detractors must remember that perfect solutions are a stepwise progression and rarely come in one immediate flash. This is UberEats first step in the right direction; the next step will be to provide a more comprehensive medical, property damage, and accident coverage that covers couriers from the moment they log onto their app to the moment they log off.