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Hong Kong: Insurers support private car services, provided they are legal

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Oct 2015

Hong Kong’s insurance industry has said that it will provide coverage for Uber and other similar car-hiring services platforms on condition that such a service is legalised by the government.
   In a statement, The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) said: “If this service remains illegal, the motor third-party liability and motor property damage cover for this kind of activity will be invalid.
   “The insurance industry is highly responsive to any new demand from the market, in particular those required by the law. Relevant insurance coverage will be made available to help customers meeting their insurance need. Taking third-party liability insurance for building owners’ corporations as an example, the relevant legislation came into force on 1 January 2011. By end of November 2010, ie one month before the effective date of the law, the insurance industry has already provided relevant compulsory third-party liability insurance cover for about 95% of Hong Kong buildings with owners’ corporations.”
   HKFI issued the statement after police raided Uber’s offices in Hong Kong and arrested several of its drivers for allegedly operating without a hire-car permit and driving without proper insurance. Uber has insisted all rides are covered by insurance.
   By law, all motorists are required to carry third-party liability insurance pertaining to bodily injury and death, with a minimum policy of HK$100 million (US$12.9 million). This is to ensure at-fault motorists have the financial ability to compensate victims injured in a traffic accident.
   The government has said that private cars without hire car permits but which are used for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward did not have proper insurance that complied with the law.
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