Unimutual is always monitoring emerging risks, and currently we are looking into a new issue arising from the digital and sharing economy. The last few years have seen a number of bicycle share schemes crop up, with varying success. We are now seeing the rise of share schemes for electric- or e-scooters and e-bikes, often backed by some of the world’s largest technology companies and present in more than 100 cities worldwide. In Australia, hundreds of thousands of paid rides have already occurred.
Whilst never disputing the benefits that such endeavours might unlock, we must also consider the possible ramifications for Members. Such schemes have clear merits for universities with young populations, large campuses (or multi-campuses), and a willingness to adopt new technologies. Being able to race around at speeds approaching 30 km/h does have some appeal!
Whilst we have yet to see any formal agreements between Members and such companies, we do hold some concerns regarding any potential increase in liability exposure for Members. Other insurance covers could also be impacted by such an agreement.
One article discussing the rollout of e-scooters through Brisbane, cited more than 80 incidents requiring hospitalisation in just over 2 months. This has the potential to significantly impact Workers’ Compensation, Personal Accident and Public Liability policies, and consideration must be given to the downside of this popular new trend. State laws must of course also be checked as, for example, in New South Wales e-scooters currently remain illegal to use in public places unless registered – which then has major ramifications for Public Liability and CTP insurances.
Of course, Unimutual does not want to be the one to ‘kill Bambi’, however we need to take a comprehensive view of the risks associated with schemes, and of how such schemes might be rolled out at campuses or colleges.
At this early juncture, Unimutual urges caution when signing agreements – which should include an indemnity in favour of the Member. Furthermore, we recommend discussion with your broker to ensure that no coverage exclusions are triggered by sanctioning the use, and agreeing to terms via the contract, including any subrogation waivers.
Unimutual will continue to monitor this emerging risk and update you further as developments occur, including government response/s. As always, we are happy to discuss any concerns – get in touch with your usual contact or at email@example.com