“The insurance will kick in when that app is turned on and kick off when the app is turned off,” Stone said. “It’s distance based, based on kilometres travelled, it’s not an insurance approach that is just attached to your vehicle That’s the only way it works with the ride (hailing) model. There’s a bit more work to refine that but we’re making some good progress there.”

That kind of insurance already exists in Alberta and Ontario, where Uber buys insurance on behalf of its drivers – including $2 million of third-party liability coverage for the duration of the each trip.

“The starting point is a model which is as simple as possible for both the driver and for the ride (hailing) company,” said ICBC spokesperson Adam Grossman.

“We have had the advantage of being able to look at other jurisdictions. We also believe our unique situation here in B.C., as a public auto insurer providing all basic insurance, will allow us to do this effectively.”

The B.C. Liberals have promised to have ride-hailing operational by Christmas if they are re-elected on May 9.  The B.C. NDP said it would scrap the proposal if elected, in support of the existing taxi industry.

B.C. Taxi Association president Mohan King said the taxi industry will gather next Monday in Surrey for a meeting to discuss their position and future action. B.C.’s taxi industry is opposed to ride-hailing companies, warning it could drive them out of business.

The government has offered the taxi industry $1 million to develop an app that will compete with ride-hailing companies, as well as $3.5 million in crash avoidance technology for cabs, a relaxation of geographic restrictions on taxi companies and exclusive rights to pick up passengers by phone, by street hail or at taxi stands.

Stone said he’s also exploring a possible new insurance package for traditional taxis, which would also see them pay per kilometre travelled instead of purchasing full monthly insurance whether the cab is used full-time or not.

Stone said that change could save taxi operators money in rural communities, where smaller taxi operators could put extra cars on the road during peak periods without having to pay a full month’s auto insurance.

“That will be helpful,” said Gurpreet Manj, owner of Star Taxi in Cranbrook, who said he pays $700 to $800 a month per taxi in insurance.

“That’s $25 a day, and that’s a killing cost,” he added. But Manj, who has 26 taxi licences and seven vehicles on the road Wednesday, said he’s more concerned about the competition from Uber, and government’s decision to continually increase the cost of minimum wage.

Uber said in a statement Wednesday that it will work with B.C. to develop a provincial insurance model.

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