Peers, an independent community whose mission is to make the rapidly growing sharing economy work for the people who power it, is today adding two new services to support its 250,000 members: Homeshare Liability Insurance — a comprehensive personal liability insurance for homeshare hosts/owners — and Keep Driving, a program for any sharing economy workers who rely on their vehicle, that provides a replacement vehicle if theirs is out of commission. Peers’ intention with these products is to reduce the income instability and risk exposure of work in the sharing economy, making it easier for workers to pursue the kind of work they want while reducing the vulnerabilities inherent to an emerging economy.
“We have hundreds of thousands of people who are now earning and working in the sharing economy. But they are facing challenges they’ve never had to deal with before — access to benefits, a stable income, and trying to access proper financial products — mainly because a job usually handles most of these issues — and industries and companies have been slow to catch up,” Shelby Clark, Peers’ new executive director, said in an interview. “That’s why Peers is responding to create products for them — we want people to be able to make the decision where to work based on their lifestyle and their needs, not just access to benefits or financial products.”
Homesharing Liability Insurance is personal liability insurance for anyone who short-term rents his/her home via any homesharing platform, such as Airbnb or VRBO. This gives hosts/owners peace of mind knowing their coverage follows them wherever they list their home, and insures them for up to $1 million for personal injury or damage to property sustained by a guest or renter. Homesharing Liability Insurance also includes compensation for lost income as a result of damage to the home by a homesharing guest or their invitee, up to $5,000. Coverage costs $36 per month, can be purchased for individual and non-consecutive months, and is available nationwide from insurance broker Porter and Curtis via the Peers Support Marketplace.
Keep Driving allows sharing economy workers to keep earning by providing them access to a car if theirs has been damaged as the result of an accident, theft, fire or by a rideshare passenger. Any sharing economy worker who needs a car for his/her work can now join Keep Driving, but the product is especially beneficial for rideshare drivers, as ridesharing platforms require their drivers only use cars of which they are the registered owner or lessee (so borrowing or renting is out). Peers has partnered with Breeze, a company that provides short-term car leases, to give members access to a short-term leased vehicle for up to a month at no additional financial cost. Membership to Keep Driving is $19.99 per month, and is available in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“As both a homesharer and a rideshare driver, I need simple solutions to easily manage my income streams,” NP Promsawasdi, who hosts and drives in San Francisco, said in a statement. “I work as a driver because it’s convenient, so I rely on my car being available to me at all times, and I find my homeshare guests on more than one platform, so I need liability coverage that follows me where my home is listed. Keep Driving and Homesharing Liability Insurance give me the peace of mind of knowing I’m protected, and that’s what I need in my sharing economy work.”
Homesharing Liability Insurance and Keep Driving can both be found in Peers’ newly launched Support Marketplace, what Clark calls “a one-stop shop for everything you need to run a sharing economy business” — including information on benefits, health insurance and 401(k), tax tools, legal resources, and support services for everything from cleaning for your Airbnb or analytics for ridesharing. Peers has also created an Income Discovery tool that helps workers find the best earning opportunities based on their location, skills and interests.
“We hope that the support marketplace is an invitation to other companies to create products and services that address the needs of this new class of worker,” Clark said.
Apparently, not all companies are ready to accept this invitation. When asked about the recent news that auto insurer Geico is dropping drivers it discovers are using their vehicles for ridesharing, and whether this could be a major roadblock for sharing economy workers, Clark responded: “I certainly think this is not the direction that the industry is moving — on the contrary, I think companies are beginning to see the sharing economy as an opportunity to understand new paradigms, the blurred lines between personal and commercial use, and creating products and services to meet those needs.
“In the automotive sector, there are five insurance companies that are working on a hybrid personal-commercial insurance policy that would probably even let you decline the coverage provided by the ridesharing or carsharing platforms,” he added. “So it is unfortunate to see this move from Geico, but I certainly don’t think this is the direction of the industry.”
This is good news, which should quiet the alarm bells sounded by ‘Who’s Driving You?,’ an anti-ridesharing public safety campaign, which announced just yesterday that 29 states have now issued warnings to drivers and passengers about gaps in liability coverage for ridesharing services.