Sharing economy lays liability minefield, warns Marsh

smartphone-apps

Companies in the sharing economy sector are more exposed than others to the risks associated with an evolving employee base and the emergence of digital technologies, according to a report by Marsh.

Economy 4.0 – as are sometimes called on-demand, sharing and digital services – creates new types of workers, with the lines between staff, contractors and self-employed getting blurred, as is the case for Uber drivers for instance. This could change the way employers’ liability is rated, Marsh said in a report. 

The report notes that communications, media and technology firms are early adopters of new technologies, and therefore tend to be exposed to coverage gaps and grey areas.

It highlights the example of how an uninsured tenant, renting through an Airbnb-type app, could cause a fire through negligence. If the fire spread to a neighbouring property, both the homeowner, and the insurer of the adjacent property, could pursue a claim against the app provider for not vetting the tenant properly.

Carrick Lambert, CMT practice leader at Marsh, pointed out that tech companies see themselves merely as platforms when the regulator sees them really as a taxi business or as an accommodation provider, for example.

“The time is right now for these entities, if they want to create trust, to put in place risk and insurance arrangements,” Lambert said.

According to Marsh, the top three risks facing CMT companies are intangible and relate to data security and privacy; technology errors and omissions; and intellectual property.

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