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Uber insurance allegations ‘have no merit’

Hong Kong, 24 April 2018: Claims that Uber drivers in Hong Kong have no insurance cover because they are breaking the law have been dismissed by Boase Cohen & Collins Senior Partner Colin Cohen.

Speaking on RTHK Radio 3’s Backchat programme this morning, Mr Cohen insisted such arguments – advanced by taxi industry representatives strongly opposed to Uber – had no foundation.

“Any Uber driver already has their own insurance policy, whether it be comprehensive or third party, and Uber have added an extra insurance policy for third party that becomes effective once the app is turned on,” he told presenters Hugh Chiverton and Ada Wong.

“Of course, the government and authorities take the view that Uber is acting illegally because many of their drivers don’t have the correct car hire permit and so people are questioning whether this has an impact on the insurance cover.

“This is similar to a recent case of drink-driving in Hong Kong in which the police tried to argue that being over the limit voided a driver’s insurance cover. But the Court of Appeal gave a decision saying that is not the case, the third party insurance remains in place even though the driver has broken the law. So there is no doubt in my mind that Uber drivers do have insurance cover.”

The long-running debate about ride-hailing services such as Uber has been renewed following a fatal accident in Kowloon City last week in which an Uber driver died and four other people were injured. About 30 taxi drivers and owners rallied outside government headquarters in Tamar on Sunday to demand stronger action from the authorities.

Mr Cohen added: “Uber drivers are really self-employed, whether they are doing it part-time or full-time, so I think this issue has been taken a little bit out of context by the taxi drivers. Of course, it has become polarised because the taxi drivers are using it as another argument to try to force the government to be stronger with Uber drivers.”

Mr Cohen has made several previous appearances on Backchat to give his opinion on pressing legal issues. These have included the rights of airline passengers who are bumped off flights, the usefulness of Hong Kong’s new Apology Ordinance, and how to combat aggressive sales tactics by fitness chains.

Uber PHOTO

Hong Kong’s iconic red urban taxis, whose drivers are strongly opposed to ride-sharing service Uber.