The Uber logo is seen on mobile telephone. Picture: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY
The Uber logo is seen on mobile telephone. Picture: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY

Uber is partnering with security and insurance company Chubb to cover its South African drivers in case of death or injury as violent attacks plague the country’s cities.

The arrival of Uber in South African cities from 2013 has sparked several, often violent, protests and attacks by drivers of metered taxis. A number of Uber drivers have been killed in hijacking incidents and taxi violence.

Uber driver-partners and Uber Eats delivery-partners will now be covered from the moment they accept a trip or delivery request‚ while driving to pick up a passenger, or on the way to a restaurant‚ until the trip ends.

The company said the announcement formed part of Uber’s global commitment across the Middle East and Africa region and is an important step in addressing some of the biggest concerns raised by Uber’s independent partners who rely on Uber’s app. Uber said the cover will also provide assistance and legal representation to drivers and other third parties‚ with their claims being submitted to the Road Accident Fund at no additional cost to themselves.

In an event of an accident or a crime-related incident resulting in an injury during a trip‚ drivers and delivery-partners will also have access to emergency medical treatment‚ death payments and permanent disability payments. If an accident happens during a trip‚ the cover will reimburse drivers for emergency medical treatment costs they incur in the first 48 hours following the accident up to a capped sum.

If a driver dies as a result of an accident during a trip‚ their dependants or heirs will benefit from a lump sum payment. If a driver suffers from a permanent disability as a result of an accident on-trip‚ they will benefit from a lump sum payment.

"The amount depends on the severity of the disability‚ as determined by Chubb Insurance‚" Uber said in a statement. Alon Lits‚ GM for Sub-Saharan Africa at Uber‚ said the move shows its commitment to being a better partner to the driver- and delivery-partners. "We’ll carry on taking drivers’ feedback on board to ensure we further improve their experience so they can face the future with more confidence."

Gary Jack‚ country president for Chubb Insurance in SA said the cover will provide access to injury protection for drivers while on an Uber trip. "We are confident this will give peace of mind to drivers."

Earlier in the day‚ Uber announced that its fares were going up from July 31, saying: "We are making various changes and improvements to help provide reliable earning opportunities for driver-partners and a reliable service for [users]."

With Bloomberg