Dubai-based ride-hailing service Careem Networks FZ is looking for new ways to get ahead of main rival Uber Technologies Inc. in the Middle East.
Careem launched an accident insurance program for passengers as well as drivers in Turkey and is planning to soon expand the service to other countries in the region, said Ibrahim Manna, managing director for emerging markets. The company has signed a deal with global insurance broker Price Forbes for policies that would pay up to $20,000 to cover expenses related to deaths or serious injuries caused by an accident during Careem rides.
Uber only offers insurance for its drivers in Istanbul, leaving its customers uncovered.
Careem plans to launch its in-ride insurance program everywhere it operates “as soon as possible,” Manna said. The company currently operates in over 100 cities in 14 countries, according to its website.
Its Turkey operations are focused on Istanbul, where it works with more than 1,000 drivers. The privately held company, which also operates in Adana and Bursa provinces, abandoned its up-market car service in Turkey in 2018, just a year after launching the product, to focus on Istanbul’s $1.5 billion taxi market.
Uber is in talks to acquire Careem to help the ride-hailing giant expand in the Middle East, in a deal that could value the Dubai-based firm at $2 billion to $2.5 billion, people with knowledge of the plans said in September. But Manna said that the company is focused on its region and “there are no plans to merge with anyone.”