Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

Learn More

More information about American Business Insurance

Learn more a Flywheel 

See the Monster Products

Learn about TLPA

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

Learn More

More information about American Business Insurance

Learn more a Flywheel 

See the Monster Products

Learn about TLPA

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

Learn More

More information about American Business Insurance

Learn more a Flywheel 

See the Monster Products

Learn about TLPA

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

Learn More

More information about American Business Insurance

Learn more a Flywheel 

See the Monster Products

Learn about TLPA

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

Learn More

More information about American Business Insurance

Learn more a Flywheel 

See the Monster Products

Learn about TLPA

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

Learn More

More information about American Business Insurance

Learn more a Flywheel 

See the Monster Products

Learn about TLPA

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

Learn More

More information about American Business Insurance

Learn more a Flywheel 

See the Monster Products

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

Flywheel Partners with Monster® Products

Flywheel & Monster® Products Partner to Provide 2nd Revenue Stream for Struggling Taxi Drivers & Fleet Owners

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.
Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent.

At first glance, one would not think that Flywheel would partner with Monster®. However, at this year’s 100th Annual Taxi, Limo and Paratransit Association (TLPA) convention, that is exactly what happened. American Business Insurance was at this event on Sunday, November 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.
Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga.

Flywheel Taxi consists of approximately 230 units in San Francisco and a client of American Business Insurance since 2017. The company includes a full-solution package for taxi fleets, a peer-to-peer booking app for passengers and utilized preeminent. Contrarily, Monster® is the company that revolutionized audio and cable company products. Despite the differences, the partnership of these two companies could greatly increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners. Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well. That venture could provide up $35,000 in additional revenue for drivers simply by allowing riders to experience and purchase Monster’s unique products.

TLPA Convention Surprise

For over 30+ years, American Business Insurance has been a sponsor and exhibitor at the annual TLPA conventions. We cannot deny that, over the past 10 years, attendance has declined and the usual buzz of excitement has been missing.

In the past, taxi operators have traveled from various states, Canada, and The United Kingdom. They have continued to attend the annual conference in order to check out the latest industry trends such as the newest dispatch system s or gas efficient vehicles. They come from near and far to attend breakout sessions and board meetings to collaborate with their colleagues on how to move their FleetForward, the new TLPA motto adopted a few years back.

Hidden under a plain black sheet, donned with the white Flywheel logo and revealed with a splash by actor and Instagram-based internet influencer M2thaK was Monster, Inc. owner Noel Lee’s one-of-a-kind “Monsterized” Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley proved an effective method of showcasing amenities Flywheel and Monster offer fleet owners, which can affordably be incorporated into their own vehicle fleets.

Uber and Lyft Competition

Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.
Flywheel plans to “Monsterize” its entire fleet and encourage partner fleets to do so as well.

It is no secret that taxi companies are struggling while trying to compete with large corporate run companies such as Uber and Lyft. But if they can look at themselves and consider a business model that provides multiple streams of revenue, they can morph into a transportation business that not only upkeeps the safety standards of old-time taxi companies but also provides a unique riding experience to a captive audience. Flywheel and Monster are here to help increase revenue for taxi drivers and fleet owners despite this fierce competition.

“Why do people continue to come to these conferences? They’ve already seen every vehicle out there. They already know about the dispatches and insurance companies. They are looking for hope and some kind of change in the market place that they can continue to do this,” said Izzy Aala, CEO of Flywheel.

Aala, who has been a fixture in the industry for many years acquired Flywheel’s mobile app in April of 2017. He knew something had to change within the industry in order for cab companies nationwide to survive. Flywheel began further developing a full taxi solution and outfitting premier Flywheel Taxi in San Francisco to showcase what is possible when the industry comes together to provide riders with the best experience possible.

Flywheel revealed a “Monsterized” version of one of their fleet’s Ford Escapes outside of the main ballroom and around the Caesars Palace property to further expose to fleet owners what is possible with Flywheel and Monster.

Taxi Industry Evolution & Revitalization

Flywheel realizes giant corporations like Uber and Lyft continuously affect the bottom line of cab companies. Many are small, family owned businesses passed down generationally. Flywheel is looking toward evolving and revitalizing the industry, so they and their drivers can thrive. Enhancing the rider and driver experience to once again make taxis the preferred choice is what Aala aims to accomplish.

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.
Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“I wanted to do something different to evolve and revitalize the taxi industry in a way where everyone wins,” Aala said.

This is where Aala’s vision comes in. Earlier this year, Aala attended the International Association of Transportation Regulators conference in Philadelphia, PA. There he noticed a booth next to his – Monster® Products. Aala was confused why this audio product company would be at such a meeting. But the answer is simple. Retail isn’t dead; it’s boring.

“Fleets and drivers require additional sources of revenue. This is part of evolving and revitalizing the industry. Let’s say a businessman hops straight from a plane into a Flywheel taxi and needs to make a conference call. The driver can simply say, “here, sir, go ahead and use Monster’s crystal-clear mobile speakers.” Millennials also go out for a night on the town. Drivers can say to them, “play your own tunes through our Monsterized equipment.” Flywheel’s Office and Finance Manager, Andy Stice, explained that “this enhances the rider’s experience.” Moreover, Stice explained it “allows them a convenient purchase point, while generating profits for the driver and fleet. And Monster Products are only the beginning.”

Not the Scary Kind of Monster

Founded by Noel Lee in 1979, Monster® Products is a company that sells performance-based goods. For example, they sell high performance audio cables. It is difficult to sell without first experiencing it. And this is why the partnership between Flywheel and Monster Products was made.

“Monster® is focusing on selling products where you live, work and play. Amazon is taking the bulk of retail business, but not all. So, the balance has to go somewhere. “Our partnership with Flywheel is bringing profitable income to fleet drivers and owners across the country, while doing something they were already doing anyway,” said Lucas Gomes of Monster® Products.

With the understanding that drivers do not want to be sales people, the partnership between Monster™ Products & Flywheel is fluid. Monster® Products are best tested tangibly, so you can hear and see the difference. Where can you gain exposure to a captive audience? Vehicle where people are already listening to music, watching videos and making calls. It becomes a shared experience for both the passenger and the driver.

“Izzy isn’t trying to take the taxi industry back to where it once was; he knows that’s futile,” Stice continued. She explained that “his goal is to develop viable options for fleets and their drivers to progress and reinvent themselves.”  Flywheel strives to balance providing “the best full solution for fleets and drivers” with “pursuing a wide variety of partnership opportunities.” Those partnerships “generate revenue for the fleets and drivers and enhance rider experiences,” she stated.

Determined to Survive

As an insurance broker who specializes in taxi cab insurance, I hear multiple times per day from my clients how Uber and Lyft are negatively affecting their business. My clients are frustrated that their profit margins are being undercut by Uber and Lyft drivers who are not required to comply with the same regulations regarding background checks, driving experience and maintaining state financial responsibility requirements with commercial insurance. And commercial insurance is not cheap.

“People say they take Uber and Lyft because it’s cheaper. But that isn’t necessarily the case, especially during surge pricing.” Stice shared, “My friends and I were in Vegas just a month ago for a fun. Surge pricing was 3x the amount of the fare of a traditional taxi going from one side of the strip to the other. And the trip from the airport to the hotel was slightly cheaper and certainly more convenient by taxi,” Stice observed.

Flywheel understands that drivers do not necessarily want to be salespeople. Furthermore, the setup allows drivers to let riders experience the products first. Drivers can then offer riders an opportunity to buy if they like it. Flywheel hopes this no-pressure sales experience will take off. With that success, Flywheel and their drivers could overcome the odds are stacked against them.

By Laura M. Loftus on November 6th, 2018

Learn More

More information about American Business Insurance

Learn more a Flywheel 

See the Monster Products

Learn about TLPA

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Peer to Peer Car Rental: A Peek Into a Growing Industry

Written by Laura Loftus

 

Antoine and Roslyn Andrade* are living the “American Dream.” You know, the one where you have 9-5 jobs, run a ministry AND manage a start-up peer to peer car rental business on the side. All the while, this husband/wife duo are putting THREE kids through college.

“We tapped into our kid’s college savings to buy the first three cars,”  Roslyn said about how they were able to start this home-based business. “We try to maintain multiple sources of income. If one goes down, then you have the others.”

Like many others in this business, they are utilizing popular peer to peer car sharing apps such as Turo and HyreCar. Turo, is a peer to peer car-sharing app which started in 2010 and focuses solely on personal use. While HyreCar, which first launched in 2014 – focuses on renting solely to drivers who are using the cars to drive for Uber & Lyft.  Antoine and Roslyn utilize American Business Insurance’s (ABI’s) Period X™ insurance product which was created for the peer to peer car sharing business model. As part of this insurance product, which insures the cars only while they are not rented, they are provided a CarTeq™ device which plugs into the OBD port of their vehicle. Through this device, they can log into our portal to view vehicle trip history and GPS location.

Testing the Peer to Peer Car Rental Model

Antoine and Roslyn listed their first 3 cars on the above platforms in 2018. Since then, they have utilized the profits they have made to invest

Peer to peer car rentals are growing in popularity throughout the US and abroad.back into the business and grow their fleet to 15 cars. As you can imagine, balancing their day jobs along with managing a mini car rental business is challenging.

From scheduling maintenance, filing claims, repairing and even recovering stolen vehicles – the business is one that should be carefully entered. It’s not unusual for cars to come back from being rented needing repairs. And some don’t come back at all, and need to be tracked down or reported as stolen.

Antoine and Roslyn had more than once instance of this happening but were able to recover the vehicles in both instances. “The first time, we had to use the police to find the vehicle. The second time, we were able to get the address the car was parked at through the ABI portal. When we arrived, the car was still parked there so we took it home!”

 

Peer to Peer Car Rental Made Easy

Jon J. in Atlanta, GA has a clean, methodical approach to growing his peer to peer car rental business. Jon, who also has a day job has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He uses his background as a consultant for other businesses to grow the car-sharing model.

Some people are in the business to recoupapp-based insurance costs on a vehicle they want to own, but not use all the time. An example of this is the business executive who wants to buy a Tesla, and then lists it on Turo to rent out a few days out of the month to offset his own monthly cost of using it when he wants.

 

Taking Care of Business

Jon on the other hand is focusing on how to get them continually rented while automating the process. Like the Andrades, he also started with 3 cars and is up to 15 within a year and a half of utilizing ABI’s Period X™ insurance product.

His fleet is made up of vehicles that are easier to maintain and good on gas. Some of the cars in his fleet include the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus and Fiesta. “It’s all about getting the cars rented frequently and at the right price point.”

As a current business traveler, he is used to renting cars for work travel. In the past, he would always go to the big-name agencies like Hertz or Enterprise. When there was a problem, he had to deal with a giant corporation or a call center in a country far away.

“People like being able to call us directly, instead of a big company,” Jon said.

 

Let’s Get Personal

While using one of the online apps such as Turo or Getaround might seem like an impersonal experience, Jon said it is exactly the opposite. “With these apps, you get to see who owns the car in advance, the exact car you are renting and reviews of the person who is renting to you. You can chat in real time if there is a problem and it’s a much more personalized experience,” Jon continued.

Besides also having to recover stolen vehicles, Jon explained some of the other challenges he faces in the industry. Some of these challenges include knowing everything you can about what you are getting into, expecting the unexpected (maintenance, repair, paying deductibles on claims, etc) and always maintaining a reserve fund equal to about $1,000 per car ($10-$20k for a fleet of 15).

And that doesn’t include the cost of insurance. “There are some nuances on the insurance piece of the business. Initially, I used my personal auto insurance. But as it expanded, I needed a more scalable model. ABI really helped there,” Jon explained.

 

Risky Business

Personal auto carriers do not allow for you to insure cars that are being used to generate any type of revenue. Many people enter the peer to peer car sharing space utilizing only their personal auto. However, if a claim or accident were to arise through the course of business or even outside of it and they find out – you risk the claim being denied and possibly your policy being cancelled.

“Before you jump in, understand the true cost. Don’t just dive in without testing it. Test with 1-3 cars. Understand the risks you have to assume going into the peer to peer marketplace. Have patience and think through the little thing’s others don’t think about. Every few months I look through my business plan and identify what should be changed going forward. That’s really how you establish rapport and grow a business.”

 

*Note: Some of the names above are changed or abbreviated as the people interviewed prefer to maintain anonymity. 

Laura Loftus is an Executive Broker/Sales and Underwriting Manager with more than 10 years of experience insuring business in the For-Hire, Livery & Shared Economy industries. Looking for a quote on your business?  Call us Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm pacific: 800-980-1950 or email us anytime!

AB5: Another Battle For Taxicab Owners

 

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AB5: Another Battle for Taxicab Owners

Written by Laura Loftus

As if it isn’t hard enough for taxicab, limo and paratransit drivers competing against the Amazon.com’s of transportation – Uber & Lyft – those in California are about to potentially fight the greatest battle of them yet against AB5.

Recently, CA legislature passed and signed into law AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This bill will implement the ABC test when determining whether companies need to classify drivers as independent contractors or employees.

Lyft and UBER stickers on the rear window of a vehicle offering rides in San Francisco Bay Area car.

With taxicab and limo drivers already struggling, it seems unfathomable that CA government would make it  more difficult for professionals to operate. But many people in the taxi and limo industry are worried about potential changes they will need to make within their business.

As a commercial insurance broker, specializing in Livery, For-Hire Insurance for those in the taxicab, limo, paratransit, shared economy and on demand delivery spaces – I hear it first hand on a day to day basis how they are affected by Uber and Lyft. They are upset that those companies don’t have to adhere to the same licensing, permitting and insurance requirements that they do. And now, they might be forced to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all “gig-economy” workers – which many taxi drivers claim to be.

This potential added expense could do more harm than good, in an already difficult marketplace.

How AB5 will work

In California, AB5 will implement a three-part “ABC” test. This test will be used to established if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a worker is an employee, they need to have Workers Compensation insurance along with medical benefits and paid sick days. The law also states that all workers will be considered an employee of the company unless they can prove:

  • (A) the worker is free from the employer’s control and direction;
  • (B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s primary business; and
  • (C) the worker is not customarily engaged in the same trade, occupation, or business as the work they are hired to perform

If the company cannot prove all of these items, then the worker needs to be classified as an employee.

 

Will your taxicab company be affected by AB5?

For Chris Sweis, SF Yellow Cab has been a family business since 1983. Like many others in this industry, he is one of many across the country who grew up in the business.  It is often traditional for the business to be passed down from generation to generation.

Sweis, who is also President of the  Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, wants to work with CA Legislature to make sure taxicab drivers are exempt from AB5. Sweis said, “We don’t know if they are going to have to make any changes because taxi drivers still needs to be tested under the ABC test and a lot depends on how they are operating. If they are operating as a co-op, that makes a big difference. In SF, they have the medallions system. So, it really depends on how they are operating.”

Many taxi companies are structured as co-ops. This means each taxi driver is part owner of the company. Most are also made up of individual owner-operators who owns their own vehicle.

Under this structure, it could be considered that owners are able to exempt themselves from Work Comp insurance. In California, owners can exclude themselves from coverage under a work -comp policy. Since these co-op owners are not technically employees – they may not be affected by the AB5 bill.

Companies like SF Yellow Cab that operate under the medallion system, feel the same could be said for them as well. The taxicab company owns the medallion but leases it to the owner of the vehicle. They are basically renting out their operating authority. With a lease agreement in place – it might be enough to say the owner/operator of the vehicle is employing themselves.

 

Should AB5 apply to taxicab drivers?

Matthew Daus, Esq. who is the Partner and Chairman for Windels Marx Transportation Group in NYC and also President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators explains in more detail. He talked about identifying whether or not your taxi or limo company can continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.

He said, “Let’s say you operate a factory and you manufacture dolls and you have a broken door. You call a contractor to fix the door. The contractor is a handyman to fix facilities, not in the business of selling dolls. That situation would likely involve that worker being an independent contractor – not an employee.”

Some transportation companies are worried that their current business structure might be tested and disrupted. Currently, it is common for taxicab companies to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.”

“I think the taxi and limo industry needs to mobilize like they’ve never had to before in order to be exempt from AB5. They should be making the argument that they’ve been decimated by Uber and Lyft for years and they need an exemption,” Daus said.

“And with the entire taxi industry struggling – I don’t think that is what the legislature wanted. Most people feel bad about what happened to those in the taxi industry. It’s time for the legislature to level the playing field,” Daus also said.

 

What can you do?

TPAC is trying to get in front of CA legislature to help determine how the state of California can still implement this bill but not negatively impact the already struggling taxi industry.

It is important to do what you can to voice your opinion in protecting the transportation industry.

Sweis said TPAC could use help from fellow taxicab owners throughout the country. “If they operate in a state that has an ABC test and there is some kind of law or legislature or court cases that exempts their drivers from an ABC test being independent contractors, whether on state or local level – that would be extremely helpful.”

Sweis asked that if you have anything to provide that might be helpful, to email directly at [email protected] .

A New Kind of Work Comp Insurance

With AB5 passing in California, those in taxi and limo business may need to start purchasing Work Comp insurance for their drivers come January 2020. Dave Haley, CEO of American Business Insurance is working on a cost-effective solution.

“Everyone is really worried about AB5 and they don’t know what to do,” Haley said.

As of today, the standard markets for Work Comp are not cheap. With the future of taxi and limo drivers at the forefront, Haley is working on a technology-based Work Comp product. His goal is to offer a product that is cost effective and easy to use.

“This new work comp product will offer a large savings for taxi and limo drivers. Compared to the work comp products currently available, our InsureTech solution will turn the traditional work comp system on its head.”

If  you need Work Comp for your transportation business, give us a call or email us.