The NSW Government recently released a position paper on the collaborative economy (also known as the ‘sharing economy’). The sharing economy links customers directly with providers typically through online and mobile platforms; think car sharing, ridesharing (e.g. Uber), accommodation sharing (e.g. Airbnb), crowdfunding. There has already been a lot of talk about how clarity is needed in relation to regulation of the sharing economy.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has welcomed the position paper and acknowledged that insurers are ‘already responding to market demands by creating products to protect the thousands of new micro-business owners and operators, and their many customers‘. The ICA said that initiatives such as the NSW Government’s position paper provide more certainty about the regulatory environment governing the sharing economy and will help to speed up the process for insurers to create new products to meet market demands.

The position paper contains the following guiding principles:

  1. Support a culture of innovation
  2. Ensure regulation is fit for purpose in the digital age
  3. Maintain consumer protection and safety
  4. Promote competition
  5. Adopt an agile approach to government procurement

We can expect to see review of the regulatory environment relevant to the sharing economy and changes to regulations. It remains to be seen whether other state and territory governments will follow suit.