By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
After pioneering regulations to rule the designated driving industry prior to its summer recess, members of council once again found themselves coming up against a familiar roadblock in the attempt to form a bylaw to govern the new regulations.
The fact that no insurance companies have a policy that will cover the type of activity and business DD services offer, making a bylaw to enforce the new regulations could still include a hole that may lead to potential liabilities in the future.
Keith Miller, an associate with WB Insurance, appeared before the corporate services committee to explain the issue of covering a DD service comes down to one activity: they are conveying passengers for compensation.
If that is occurring, then “we’re going to have to change the system,” he said, referring to the insurance coverage.
DD services cannot have the same insurance policies as taxicabs due to the fact taxicabs are held to much higher standards and pay much higher premiums than what a DD service would be, Miller explains.
Councillor Nancy Diamond questioned what the city could do to help the insurance industry to develop such a policy to cover designated driver services, similar to the process currently underway between Intact Insurance and Uber.
For Councillor Dan Carter, he voiced his surprise that insurance companies weren’t jumping at the opportunity to develop a policy and reach thousands of potential customers in the form of designated driver services.
Mill says he’s sure the industry would be willing to develop a policy, as he’s certain these services are not going away in the near future.
“We know it exists and it’s going to get even more popular. The insurance industry, I’m sure, would want to come to the table,” he said.
However, one potential issue is the risks associated with insuring a DD.
“A taxi is almost a better risk…These designated driver services are arguablely faced with the worst times,” Miller says, referring to the fact that DDs generally operate late at night, in bad weather conditions and conveying generally inebriated customers.
Diamond requested the information be referred to staff with a request that they liaise with the insurance companies to work toward finding a solution to the lack of coverage.
“We’ve taken the lead in providing a system that will have some rules in it,” Diamond said. “But we understand that the insurance is not yet available, but perhaps we can help with that.”