While some workers comp carriers remain watchful as employee vs. contractor decisions play out in the courts and as gig economy growth figures shake out, others have seen the opportunity to flesh out occupational accident products to cover injured gig workers.
In October 2017, Stephen Mueller, managing director, OneBeacon Accident & Health, described coverage the carrier launched, initially designed for Uber partner drivers, that protects independent contractors who are injured on the job with a usage-based component.
“The success of occupational accident coverage in the rideshare space has extended to coverage for independent contractors in the package and food delivery, commercial staffing and home service segments,” he said in a emailed update to Carrier Management in January this year.
“Occupational accident insurance can utilize usage-based pricing methodologies to cover the part-time, independent worker only when they are driving, delivering groceries or even babysitting. This means that independent workers pay only for what they use, a key concern of theirs,” he wrote in his article, “Product Innovation: How Usage-Based Cover Fills Workers Comp Gap for Rideshare Platforms.” He added that occupational accident policies “are often marketed via groups, meaning that all users of a particular technology platform have the opportunity to purchase and obtain coverage for themselves.”
More recently, ArgoGlobal Assicurazioni S.p.A, a subsidiary of Argo Group International Holdings Ltd., announced that it teamed up with InsurTech startup Axieme to provide on-demand, pay-as-you-go insurance for temporary and short-term workers in Italy’s gig economy.
The insurance cover can be activated by a worker after he or she accepts a job from the “Jobby” digital platform, protecting the worker against accidents, illness and liability. Coverage is provided on the platform by Axieme, a Turin, Italy-based specialty broker, while ArgoGlobal provides the underwriting.
A notable feature of this coverage model is the “social insurance” approach, said ArgoGlobal. Based on the principle of reward, part of the premium is reimbursed to policyholders who do not make claims, which empowers and encourages insureds to adopt more prudent attitudes, added the company.
See related online article, “ArgoGlobal and Italian InsurTech Firm Provide On-Demand Insurance for Gig Workers” for more details.