Postmates to offer benefits to gig workers

Postmates Inc. will offer occupational accident insurance benefits this fall to fleet members, the company announced Tuesday.

The San Francisco-based company, which uses gig economy workers to deliver food, groceries, alcohol and more to individuals via an app, has about 350,000 independently contracted drivers.

Drivers will be able to access a company portal for insurance information, and as of Oct. 1, 2019, drivers will be provided occupational accident insurance with up to $1 million in coverage for medical expenses from a covered injury sustained on an active delivery. The insurance, provided in partnership with Minnetonka, Minnesota-based OneBeacon Insurance Group Ltd., also covers temporary and total disability payments, as well as death and survivor benefits stemming from an occupational accident.

The portal will also provide drivers with enhanced health and wellness options. In partnership with Stride Health Inc. drivers will have access to physicians, disability and life insurance plans and discounted access to prescription medications.

In 2016, the company was ordered by the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries to retroactively pay workers compensation premiums for more than 3,000 of its couriers in the state, and an audit by the L&I determined that Postmates owed the state $323,027 in workers comp premiums.

Postmates is not the first gig economy company to provide an insurance program to drivers. In 2017, San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc. created a program offering drivers with injury protection through Aon PLC and OneBeacon which charges drivers 3.5 cents per mile for coverage that applies when drivers log into the app, are en route to pick up passengers or transporting passengers.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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