By Hope King and Carlo Versano
There is a future that some imagine in which no one owns a car or needs to learn how to drive ー because all (or at least most) cars will be shared and self-driving.
This is not necessarily the future that insurance giant Allstate sees, but if that end does materialize, the company has a plan.
"There may be a lot more commercial mileage that needs to be captured under a commercial contract," Allstate Business Insurance EVP Tom Troy said Wednesday in an interview on Cheddar. "We plan to be a big player in that space."
Uber might have cars, bikes, buses, scooters, and who knows what else on its platform in the future. But regardless of how those vehicles are operated, the company will need insurance for its transportation fleets.
"We're going to take a careful and close look at that," Troy said while on the sidelines at Uber's safety product announcement event in New York.
"Insurance companies like Allstate need to take a hard look there and figure out a solution."
Troy's noncommital answer mirrors the approach Allstate has long taken to the ride-sharing craze ー one Troy admits is "wait-and-see."
The company began working with Uber in March of this year, insuring trips for Uber drivers as soon as they turn on the app to wait for a trip request. The policy is currently in effect in Illinois, New Jersey, and in parts of New York and Wisconsin.
But Uber is a nearly 10-year-old company, operating with three-million plus drivers. So why did it take Allstate so long to get on board?
"Early on, we were assessing whether or not being a commercial provider for an entity like Uber was a good idea," Troy said. Allstate was trying to assess how Uber's "model was going to mature."
Part of that approach was looking at feedback from users and assessing how Allstate's own policies would either affect or be impacted by Uber's own commercial product, he added.
"Uber is a very progressive company," Troy said. "A lot of our customers on the personal lines side also use Uber, so it's a real natural extension of the kind of safety that we provide."
Uber and Allstate announced a deepening of their partnership on Wednesday to make filing claims more instantaneous.
As for the relationship between two titans of industry, Troy said: "We've had an excellent start."