In May 2018, Deliveroo begun collaboration with the insurance start-up Qover to provide private insurance for food delivery couriers in the 12 countries in which Deliveroo is operational, thereby covering an estimated 35,000 workers. The insurance was initially introduced in Belgium as a test, and was extended to the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands within a month. The company will provide its riders free accident insurance to cover up to €7,500 of medical expenses and up to 75% of average gross income during temporary inactivity for a maximum of 30 days. The riders will also have access to public liability insurance which covers them up to €5 million. In addition, riders will be protected for one hour once they have logged off, thereby ensuring they are covered for the way home.
In Belgium, the insurance package provided by Qover was introduced following criticism of the end of collaboration between Deliveroo and Smart in 2017. Platform workers who had an employment contract with Smart were insured through Smart, had access to social and legal protection.
According to Deliveroo, the availability of the novel insurance coverage will ensure the flexibility valued by food delivery drivers while offering enhanced protection while drivers are on the job. Deliveroo also considers the insurance to provide a competitive edge over similar food delivery platforms operating in Belgium, helping the platform in attracting and retaining the best riders.
Eligibility criteria for accident insurance
Riders are eligible if they fulfil the following criteria:
- they are under 70 years of age; and
- they are legally resident and permitted to work in the country of operation; and
- they are affiliated to a social security; and
- they hold a valid rider supplier agreement to undertake deliveries; and
- they undertook at least one delivery over the last 30 days;
- they ensure they maintain and only use their means of transport if it is in a roadworthy condition; and
- they comply with regulations imposed by any lawfully authority; and
- they exercise due skill and care when making deliveries.
What is covered
- Accidental Death & Permanent and Temporary Incapacity
- Medical expenses related to a covered Bodily Injury due to an Accident (max. €7,500)
- Convalescence benefit (up to €20 per day up to a maximum of €280)
- Facial scarring benefit from Assault only
- Dislocation requiring reduction under Anaesthesia
- Dental benefit (€2,000)
The insurance also covers personal liability, though only for delivery riders using (electric) bicycles. Bicycle couriers are insured for damage done to another person or his or her property after a traffic accident.
The eligibility criteria related to the personal liability insurance are similar to those of the accident insurance, with the additional clause that any excess is to be paid by the delivery rider.
What is covered
- General Liability: Bodily Injury and Accidental Damage (€5,000,000 per claim per year)
- General Liability: Damage to Goods (€5,000 per claim per year)
- General Liability: Pure Financial Loss (€250,000 per claim per year)
- Legal Protection /Judicial Defence (€7,500 per year)
Riders using a scooter or other vehicle that can drive at a speed of 25 km/hour or over need to foresee their own public liability insurance in addition to the accident insurance offered by Deliveroo.
Deliveroo riders must adhere to the following procedure when they have an accident:
- Call the emergency services and consult a doctor (safety first)
- Collect evidence (take pictures, gather as much information as possible: where did the accident take place, who was involved, witnesses, what were the circumstances, what the damage was caused)
- Report the accident to Qover (‘make a claim’ through the website)
Strengths and weaknesses
The key strength of the initiative is that it covers all Deliveroo riders, independently of their employment status. In Belgium, delivery riders working through Deliveroo can choose between three statuses: student-self-employed, self-employed and peer-to-peer. The peer-to-peer status is aimed at those platform workers who earn less than the maximum yearly threshold level set under the De Croo Law and are therefore exempted from having to register as self-employed, having a VAT number and paying taxes or social security contributions. This group of workers does not have a clear employment status and their income earned through platform work is registered as occasional income.
However, trade unions note that in practice the insurance remains inadequate. For example, the Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique (FGTB), argues that when food delivery riders are involved in an accident, it is typically the case that they insured for only a fraction of what an employee would normally be insured for and that damage to their own equipment is often not covered.
Deliveroo mentions that the following cases are not covered by Qover: problems with own phone, problems with clothes and problems with bicycle, electric bike, or scooter when a driver is not online.
In August 2019, Deliveroo ceased its operation in Germany to focus on other markets around Europe and Asia-Pacific region. As a result, around 1,100 registered Deliveroo riders would be no longer able to enjoy the private insurance provided by Qover. Compensations will be provided, including a one-off pay equal to 10 days’ pay and a second payment equal to two weeks’ pay, in addition to any other outstanding fees owed. Only riders who have been active in the last 12 weeks will be eligible for the compensation, and the rate of compensation is calculated based on their average weekly earnings over that period.
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