Florida 2015 Senate Bill 1298: Targets Uber and "Transportation Network Companies"

Uber works. I use it all the time. I do not use Uber instead of a Taxi. I just don't use a Taxi service because it is too slow, too inconvenient, and too expensive. So it is not that a Taxi service is losing my business to Uber. The Taxi service never had my business to begin with.  

My friends use it. My clients use it. As a criminal defense attorney, I know that many people in Florida have temporarily lost their driving privileges. Instead of driving without a valid license or insurance - they take Uber. It makes the roads safer for the rest of us. 

I represent lots of people for DUI who could have avoided driving under the influence by just taking Uber. Many people plan poorly for a night on the town. After a few drinks, these individuals are probably not going to take a Taxi home, but they would be more likely to take Uber home. 

So why are the politicians trying to destroy this wonderful concept of ride sharing? Do they not know that people that like ride sharing also like to vote?  

Today (April 14), SB 1298, a piece of legislation sponsored by Senator Simmons is up for a vote on the Senate floor. Our state senators should vote no on FL 2015 SB 1298.

Accord to Uber, this bill has nothing to do with public safety, but is rather an effort aimed at protecting entrenched special interests. It could potentially kill tens of thousands of good Florida jobs and would prevent you from accessing a safe, affordable ride that arrives in minutes anywhere in the Sunshine State. 

This legislation would require Transportation Network Companies like Uber to insure personal vehicles with commercial insurance even when a driver is not logged into the platform, is not supported by insurance leaders or the ride sharing industry. 



Uber already ensures there is insurance coverage whenever a driver is actually logged into the platform. 

If passed, SB 1298 could destroy ride sharing in Florida. Tens of thousands of jobs could be lost across the state and millions of residents and visitors will no longer have access to safe and reliable rides at the touch of a button. 

Read more:  #Uberon in Hillsborough County, FL - Find out more about how the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission (PTC) led by an elected County Commissioner Victor Crist recently filed a lawsuit against Uber, as well as some of its driver-partners. Also, the PTC inspectors have been using undercover sting operations to hand drivers citations totally more than $700 and even making arrests for misdemeanor charges of operating without a proper permit. The courts are throwing the charges out. Read more about HCPTC rules (Section 7-1) and Chapter 2001-299, for Operating a public vehicle for hire without a certification. 





Florida Senate - 2015                             CS for SB 1298
      
      
    
       By the Committee on Appropriations; and Senator Simmons      
      
       576-03818-15                                          20151298c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                     
    2         An act relating to insurance for short-term rental and
    3         transportation network companies; creating s. 627.716,
    4         F.S.; defining terms; establishing insurance
    5         requirements for short-term rental network companies
    6         during certain timeframes; requiring a short-term
    7         rental network company to make certain written
    8         disclosures to participating lessors; requiring an
    9         insurer to defend and indemnify an insured in this
   10         state; prohibiting the personal insurance policy of a
   11         participating lessor of a short-term rental property
   12         from providing specified coverage during certain
   13         timeframes except under specified circumstances;
   14         requiring a short-term rental network company and its
   15         insurer to cooperate with certain claims
   16         investigations; providing that the section does not
   17         limit the liability of a short-term rental network
   18         company under specified circumstances; creating s.
   19         627.748, F.S.; defining terms; requiring a
   20         transportation network company driver or such company
   21         on the driver’s behalf, or a combination thereof, to
   22         maintain primary automobile liability insurance issued
   23         by specified insurers with certain coverages in
   24         specified amounts during certain timeframes; requiring
   25         the transportation network company to provide
   26         automobile insurance in the event insurance maintained
   27         by the transportation network company driver lapses or
   28         does not provide the required coverage; requiring a
   29         transportation network company driver to carry proof
   30         of insurance coverage at certain times and to disclose
   31         specified information in the event of an accident;
   32         requiring a transportation network company to make
   33         certain disclosures to transportation network company
   34         drivers; authorizing insurers to exclude certain
   35         coverages during specified periods for policies issued
   36         to transportation network company drivers for personal
   37         vehicles; requiring a transportation network company
   38         and certain insurers to cooperate during a claims
   39         investigation to facilitate the exchange of specified
   40         information; requiring a transportation network
   41         company to determine whether an individual’s personal
   42         vehicle is subject to a lien before allowing the
   43         individual to act as a driver and, if the vehicle is
   44         subject to a lien, to verify that the insurance
   45         required by this section provides coverage to the
   46         lienholder during specified periods; authorizing the
   47         Office of Insurance Regulation to adopt rules to
   48         implement the section; providing an effective date.
   49         
   50  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   51 
   52         Section 1. Section 627.716, Florida Statutes, is created to
   53  read:
   54         627.716 Short-term rental network company insurance.—
   55         (1) For purposes of this section, the term:
   56         (a) “Application” means an Internet-enabled application or
   57  platform owned or used by a short-term rental network company or
   58  any similar method of providing rental services to a
   59  participating renter.
   60         (b) “Participating lessor” means a person who makes a
   61  short-term rental property available through an application to
   62  participating renters.
   63         (c) “Participating renter” means a person who enters into a
   64  short-term rental arrangement through an application.
   65         (d) “Short-term rental network company” or “company” means
   66  an organization, including, but not limited to, a corporation,
   67  limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship, or
   68  other entity for which participating lessors provide
   69  prearranged, short-term rentals for compensation using an
   70  application to connect a participating renter with a
   71  participating lessor.
   72         (e) “Short-term rental network company insurance” means an
   73  insurance policy that expressly provides coverage as required by
   74  this section at all times during the short-term rental period.
   75         (f) “Short-term rental period” means the period beginning
   76  at the time the participating renter first uses or occupies the
   77  short-term rental property and ending at the time the
   78  participating renter vacates the short-term rental property.
   79         (g) “Short-term rental property” means the entirety or any
   80  portion of a property which is used for residential occupancy
   81  purposes. Such property includes, but is not limited to, a
   82  condominium, an apartment, a multifamily dwelling, a single
   83  family structure, or any other rental unit located in this state
   84  which is owned or rented by a participating lessor.
   85         (2)(a) During the short-term rental period, a short-term
   86  rental network company shall maintain short-term rental network
   87  company insurance that is primary and that:
   88         1. Insures the participating lessor against direct physical
   89  loss to the short-term rental property and its contents,
   90  exclusive of the property of the participating renter, with
   91  limits equal to any multiperil or named-peril property insurance
   92  maintained by the participating lessor.
   93         2. Provides liability coverage for personal injury and
   94  property damage with limits of at least $1 million which covers
   95  the acts and omissions of the short-term rental network company,
   96  a participating lessor, and all persons using or occupying the
   97  short-term rental property and which does not contain an
   98  exclusion for co-insureds.
   99         (b) Short-term rental network company insurance may not
  100  require as a prerequisite of coverage that another insurance
  101  policy be primary or first deny a claim.
  102         (3) A short-term rental network company shall disclose in
  103  writing to a participating lessor the insurance coverages and
  104  limits of liability that the short-term rental network company
  105  provides during the short-term rental period. The company shall
  106  advise the participating lessor in writing that the
  107  participating lessor’s personal insurance policy may not provide
  108  the insurance coverage required by subsection (2).
  109         (4) An insurer that provides short-term rental network
  110  company insurance shall defend and indemnify in this state the
  111  insured in accordance with the policy’s provisions.
  112         (5)(a) During the short-term rental period, the
  113  participating lessor’s personal insurance policy for the short
  114  term rental property may not:
  115         1. Be required to provide primary or excess coverage.
  116         2. Provide any coverage to the participating lessor, the
  117  participating renter, or a third party unless the policy, with
  118  or without a separate charge, expressly provides for such
  119  coverage or contains an amendment or endorsement to provide such
  120  coverage.
  121         3. Have any duty to indemnify or defend for liabilities
  122  arising during the short-term rental period unless the policy,
  123  with or without a separate charge, expressly provides for such
  124  duties or contains an amendment or endorsement to provide for
  125  such duties.
  126         (b) Before or after the short-term rental period, the
  127  participating lessor’s personal policy for the short-term rental
  128  property may not provide coverage for claims arising from any
  129  rental arrangement entered into by a participating renter with
  130  the short-term rental company or the participating lessor for
  131  the short-term rental property or for acts and omissions related
  132  to the rental arrangement unless the policy, with or without a
  133  separate charge, provides for such coverage or contains an
  134  amendment or endorsement to provide such coverage.
  135         (6) In a claims investigation, a short-term rental network
  136  company or its insurer shall cooperate with other insurers to
  137  facilitate the exchange of information, which must include the
  138  number and duration of all short-term rental periods made with
  139  respect to the short-term rental property for the 12 months
  140  preceding the date of loss.
  141         (7) This section does not limit the liability of a short
  142  term rental network company arising out of the use or occupancy
  143  of short-term rental property by a participating renter for an
  144  amount that exceeds the limits specified in subsection (2).
  145         Section 2. Section 627.748, Florida Statutes, is created to
  146  read:
  147         627.748 Transportation network company insurance.—
  148         (1) For purposes of this section, the term:
  149         (a) “Digital network” means an online-enabled application,
  150  software, website, or system offered or used by a transportation
  151  network company which enables the prearrangement of rides with
  152  transportation network company drivers.
  153         (b) “Personal vehicle” means a vehicle that is used by a
  154  transportation network company driver in connection with
  155  providing transportation network company service and that:
  156         1. Is owned, leased, or otherwise authorized for use by the
  157  transportation network company driver; and
  158         2. Is not a taxi, jitney, limousine, or for-hire vehicle as
  159  defined in s. 320.01(15).
  160         (c) “Prearranged ride” means the provision of
  161  transportation by a driver to or on behalf of a rider, beginning
  162  when a driver accepts a ride requested by a rider through a
  163  digital network controlled by a transportation network company,
  164  continuing while the driver transports the rider, and ending
  165  when the last rider departs from the personal vehicle. A
  166  prearranged ride does not include transportation provided using
  167  a taxi, jitney, limousine, for-hire vehicle as defined in s.
  168  320.01(15), or street hail services.
  169         (d) “Transportation network company” or “company” means a
  170  corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity
  171  operating in this state which uses a digital network to connect
  172  transportation network company riders to transportation network
  173  company drivers who provide prearranged rides. A transportation
  174  network company may not be deemed to control, direct, or manage
  175  the personal vehicles or transportation network company drivers
  176  that connect to its digital network, unless agreed to in a
  177  written contract. A transportation network company does not
  178  include an individual, corporation, partnership, sole
  179  proprietorship, or other entity arranging nonemergency medical
  180  transportation for individuals qualifying for Medicaid or
  181  Medicare pursuant to a contract with the state or a managed care
  182  organization.
  183         (e) “Transportation network company driver” or “driver”
  184  means an individual who:
  185         1. Receives connections to potential riders and related
  186  services from a transportation network company in exchange for
  187  any form of compensation, including payment of a fee to the
  188  transportation network company; and
  189         2. Uses a personal vehicle to offer or provide a
  190  prearranged ride to riders upon connection through a digital
  191  network controlled by a transportation network company in return
  192  for compensation, including payment of a fee.
  193         (f) “Transportation network company rider” or “rider” means
  194  an individual who directly or indirectly uses a transportation
  195  network company’s digital network to connect with a
  196  transportation network company driver who provides
  197  transportation services to such individual in the driver’s
  198  personal vehicle.
  199         (2)(a) A transportation network company driver, or a
  200  transportation network company on the driver’s behalf, shall
  201  maintain primary automobile liability insurance that recognizes
  202  that the driver is a transportation network company driver or
  203  that the driver otherwise uses a personal vehicle to transport
  204  riders for compensation. Such primary automobile liability
  205  insurance must cover the driver as required under this section,
  206  including while the driver is logged on to the transportation
  207  network company’s digital network and engaged in a prearranged
  208  ride.
  209         (b) The following automobile insurance requirements apply
  210  while a participating transportation network company driver is
  211  logged on to the transportation network company’s digital
  212  network and is available to receive transportation requests, but
  213  is not engaged in a prearranged ride:
  214         1. Primary automobile liability insurance of at least
  215  $125,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $250,000 for
  216  death and bodily injury per incident, coverage in an equivalent
  217  amount for uninsured and underinsured motorists, and $50,000 for
  218  property damage; and
  219         2. Primary automobile insurance that provides the minimum
  220  coverage requirements under ss. 627.730-627.7405.
  221         (c) The following automobile insurance requirements shall
  222  apply while a transportation network company driver is engaged
  223  in a prearranged ride:
  224         1. Primary automobile liability insurance of at least $1
  225  million for death and bodily injury per person, $2 million for
  226  death and bodily injury per incident, coverage in an equivalent
  227  amount for uninsured and underinsured motorists, and $50,000 for
  228  property damage; and
  229         2. Primary automobile insurance that provides the minimum
  230  coverage requirements under ss. 627.730-627.7405.
  231         (d) The following automobile insurance requirements apply
  232  at all times other than the periods specified in paragraph (b)
  233  or paragraph (c) if a driver has or, within the previous 6
  234  months has had, an agreement with a transportation network
  235  company to provide any form of transportation services to
  236  riders:
  237         1. Primary automobile liability insurance of at least
  238  $100,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $200,000 for
  239  death and bodily injury per incident, coverage in an equivalent
  240  amount for uninsured and underinsured motorists, and $50,000 for
  241  property damage; and
  242         2. Primary automobile insurance that provides the minimum
  243  coverage requirements under ss. 627.730-627.7405.
  244         (e) The coverage requirements of paragraph (b), paragraph
  245  (c), or paragraph (d) may be satisfied by any of the following:
  246         1. Automobile liability insurance maintained by the
  247  transportation network company driver;
  248         2. Automobile liability insurance maintained by the
  249  transportation network company; or
  250         3. Any combination of subparagraphs 1. and 2.
  251         (f) If automobile insurance maintained by a driver under
  252  paragraph (b), paragraph (c), or paragraph (d) has lapsed or
  253  does not provide the required coverage, automobile insurance
  254  maintained by a transportation network company must provide the
  255  coverage required by this section beginning with the first
  256  dollar of a claim and must require that the insurer have the
  257  duty to defend such claim in this state.
  258         (g) Coverage under an automobile insurance policy
  259  maintained by the transportation network company may not be
  260  dependent on a personal automobile liability insurance policy
  261  first denying a claim.
  262         (h) Automobile insurance required by this section must be
  263  provided by an insurer authorized to do business in this state
  264  and which is a member of the Florida Insurance Guaranty
  265  Association.
  266         (i) Automobile insurance satisfying the requirements of
  267  this section shall be deemed to satisfy the financial
  268  responsibility requirements for a motor vehicle under chapter
  269  324 and the security required under s. 627.733.
  270         (j) A transportation network company driver shall carry
  271  proof of insurance coverage satisfying paragraphs (b), (c), and
  272  (d) at all times during his or her use of a personal vehicle in
  273  connection with a transportation network company’s digital
  274  network. In the event of an accident:
  275         1. The driver shall provide the insurance coverage
  276  information to the directly involved parties, automobile
  277  insurers, and investigating police officers. Proof of financial
  278  responsibility may be provided through a digital telephone
  279  application under s. 316.646 controlled by a transportation
  280  network company.
  281         2. The driver, upon request, shall disclose to the directly
  282  involved parties, automobile insurers, and investigating police
  283  officers whether the driver, at the time of the accident, was
  284  logged on to the transportation network company’s digital
  285  network or engaged in prearranged ride.
  286         (k) Before a driver may accept a request for a prearranged
  287  ride on the transportation network company’s digital network,
  288  the transportation network company shall disclose in writing to
  289  each transportation network company driver each type of:
  290         1. Insurance coverage and the limit for each coverage the
  291  transportation network company provides; and
  292         2. Automobile insurance coverage that the driver must
  293  maintain while the driver uses a personal vehicle in connection
  294  with the transportation network company.
  295         (l) An insurer that provides personal automobile insurance
  296  policies under part XI of chapter 627 may exclude from coverage
  297  under a policy issued to an owner or operator of a personal
  298  vehicle any loss or injury that occurs while a driver is logged
  299  on to a transportation network company’s digital network or
  300  while a driver is engaged in a prearranged ride. Such right to
  301  exclude coverage applies to any coverage under an automobile
  302  liability insurance policy, including, but not limited to:
  303         1. Liability coverage for bodily injury and property
  304  damage.
  305         2. Personal injury protection coverage under s. 627.736.
  306         3. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
  307         4. Medical payments coverage.
  308         5. Comprehensive physical damage coverage.
  309         6. Collision physical damage coverage.
  310         (m) The exclusions authorized under paragraph (l) apply
  311  notwithstanding any financial responsibility requirements under
  312  chapter 324. This section does not require that a personal
  313  automobile liability insurance policy provide coverage while the
  314  driver is logged on to the transportation network company’s
  315  digital network, while the driver is engaged in a prearranged
  316  ride, or while the driver otherwise uses a personal vehicle to
  317  transport riders for compensation. However, an insurer may
  318  voluntarily elect to provide coverage for such driver’s personal
  319  vehicle by contract or endorsement.
  320         (n) An insurer that excludes coverage, as authorized under
  321  paragraph (l):
  322         1. Does not have a duty to defend or indemnify any claim
  323  excluded. This section does not invalidate or limit an exclusion
  324  contained in a policy, including any policy in use or approved
  325  for use in this state before July 1, 2015.
  326         2. Has a right of contribution against other insurers that
  327  provide automobile liability insurance to the same driver in
  328  satisfaction of the coverage requirements of this section at the
  329  time of loss if the insurer defends or indemnifies a claim
  330  against a driver which is excluded under the terms of its
  331  policy.
  332         (o) In any claims investigation, a transportation network
  333  company and any insurer potentially providing coverage for such
  334  claim under this section shall cooperate to facilitate the
  335  exchange of relevant information with directly involved parties
  336  and insurers of the transportation network company driver, if
  337  applicable. Such information must provide:
  338         1. The precise times that a driver logged on and off the
  339  transportation network company’s digital network during the 12
  340  hour period immediately preceding and immediately after the
  341  accident.
  342         2. A clear description of the coverage, any exclusions, and
  343  limits provided under any automobile liability insurance
  344  maintained under this section.
  345         (p) Before allowing an individual to act as a driver on its
  346  digital network, a transportation network company shall
  347  determine whether the driver’s personal vehicle is subject to a
  348  lien. If the personal vehicle is subject to a lien, the
  349  transportation network company shall verify that the insurance
  350  required by this section provides coverage to the lienholder
  351  while the driver is logged into the transportation network
  352  company’s digital network and while the driver is providing a
  353  prearranged ride.
  354         (3) The office may adopt rules to implement this section.
  355         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.

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