Disrupting our way to the old days

My coworker recently shared an article from The Economist about changes in insurance. As more workers forego traditional employment to participate in the so-called “gig economy”, they find they’re in need of insurance. So companies are working with insurance companies to provide part-time insurance coverage.

Some of these cases make sense. Couriers are ride share drivers may not have auto insurance that covers their job-related use of the car. A pay-per-minute model of relevant insurance that’s in effect when the app is in use makes sense. What I struggle to understand is how coverage “against illness, disability and death” works under such a model.  The article mentions an agreement between Uber and an insurance broker that charges on a per-mile basis, but is coverage similarly rated?

But what gets me is how this brings the gig economy a little closer to traditional jobs. Gig economy companies have fought very hard to have participants labeled as contractors, not employees. But by offering benefits, aren’t they weakening that claim? In the same way that ride sharing companies have re-discovered the concept of buses, I look forward to the day when they’re indistinguishable from traditional employers. Of course, they’ll find a way to boast about how disruptive their 401(k) matching and generous paid time off plans are.

2 thoughts on “Disrupting our way to the old days

  1. If we would just socialize healthcare it wouldn’t matter. Your insurance would be completely disconnected from your job. It would probably also drive up wages as we wouldn’t be stuck at a job because we have good healthcare. It would give employees more leverage in salary negotiations.

  2. You’re absolutely right, but that’s a big “if”. I was surprised to read that one of the early programs (albeit not for health insurance) was from the UK. I guess I don’t really think about liability insurance in foreign countries.

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