Prior blog posts discuss new laws imposing, among other things, insurance-related requirements on ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft (also known as transportation network companies or TNCs) and their drivers. While many states have passed such laws, the Florida legislature is now dealing with competing proposals for regulating TNCs. On Tuesday, a Florida Senate committee unanimously approved a bill to regulate TNCs. A different bill is making its way through the Florida House. Both bills include insurance requirements but the devil is in the details.
The insurance requirements in the House version vary depending on whether the driver has accepted a pickup request. When the driver is logged on to the TNC app but has not accepted a request, the minimum insurance requirements are $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident and $25,000 for property damage. Once a driver accepts a pickup request, these minimums increase to $1,000,000 and are applicable until the driver completes the trip by dropping the passenger off.
The Senate version of the bill had similar requirements but was reportedly amended at the last minute. Unlike the House version, the minimum requirements do not change based on whether the driver has agreed to pick up a passenger. Instead, the minimum requirements — $125,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $250,000 for death and bodily injury per incident and $50,000 for property damage — apply as long as the driver is logged on to the TNC app. The sponsor of the bill explained that these figures were closer to the amounts currently applicable to taxi companies.
Both bills allow the driver’s insurance or the TNC’s insurance or some combination to satisfy the minimum requirements. However, there are other significant differences between the bills, like the background check requirements in the House version, which require the TNC to perform a background check on all driver applicants. If, for example, the applicant has been convicted of driving under the influence within the past seven years, she is precluded from acting as a driver. The Senate version contains no similar provisions.