• Judge Orders Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to Clarify Uber 'For Hire' Insurance Requirements
  • September 25, 2015 | Author: G. Donovan Brown
  • Law Firm: Colodny Fass, P.A. - Tallahassee Office
  • The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles ("DHSMV") must explain how for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft can operate in the state without being insured by a commercial auto policy at all times - not just while they are in use. The September 17, 2015 order to the agency was issued by the Second Judicial Circuit Court of Leon County in response to a complaint filed by two Florida taxi companies just days earlier.

    Should the DHSMV not respond. The Court will issue a decision on the matter in just over a month's time.

    According the original lawsuit filed by the taxi companies, Florida Statutes 324.031 ensures that a for-hire passenger transportation vehicle is "insured at all times with the requisite commercial coverage."

    The lawsuit claims the law is "clear and unambiguous" in mandating that a for-hire &smbull;passenger transportation vehicle be insured at all times and it does not contemplate that a vehicle may only be an insured for-hire passenger transportation vehicle sometimes, but not at all times.

    Additionally, the taxi forms maintain that the law does not contemplate an operator of a for-hire passenger transportation vehicle is an insured owner or operator only when transporting customers and connected via the Uber app to Uber's platform and technology.

    The complaints says that the current Uber driver insurance policy from James River Insurance doesn't insure either the Uber driver or the vehicle when the driver is not connected to the Uber application. Thus, the James River Policy acts to insure only Uber-related activities, which Florida law does not permit, according to the complaint.

    The taxi companies also complain that James River Insurance, which is a surplus lines carrier, is not a member of the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association as required by the statute.