This visual display helped explain limousine insurance policies and practicies to state insurance officials during a March 21 presentation by GCLA President Rich Azzolino and board director Lee Martinez.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Department of Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, recently sent recommendations to the state agency that regulates charter-party carriers supporting more comprehensive commercial insurance requirements for vehicles that serve rideshare-app-based transportation network companies (TNCs), like Uber.
The recommendations are based on information gleaned from a March 21 presentation by Greater California Livery Association President Rich Azzolino and GCLA board director Lee Martinez, who participated in an investigative hearing before the CDI along with represenatives from taxicab companies and TNCs.
Jones outlined the recommendations in an April 7 letter to Michael Peevey, President of the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates and licenses all California limousine companies and charter-party ground transportation carriers.
Copy of letter and recommendations here
GCLA President and NLA board director Rich Azzolino is spearheading association efforts to get state officials to improve insurance requirements for Transportation Network Companies operating in California.
If the CPUC accepts the CDI's TNC insurance proposal, it would be a major step toward putting TNCs on a more level regulatory playing field with limousine companies, which are required to maintain a high level of commercial insurance on chauffeured fleet vehicles. The lack of adequate insurance coverage among TNC vehicle drivers, or at least the absence of adequate insurance verification, has generated widespread concerns among charter party carriers and government regulators about passenger and traffic safety as well as liabilities when accidents occur.
Azzolino and Martinez took an educational and factual approach in their presentation, helping state officials better understand how commercial fleet insurance rules and policies apply to chauffeured transportation operations versus TNCs.
"Our testimony was the basis for what came out of this," said Azzolino, also a board director of the National Limousine Association. Martinez, a vendor member of the GCLA board of directors, is a lead agent for Transcap Insurance Agency (Transpo Insurance) in Las Vegas, and considered a leading industry expert on limousine vehicle insurance. "It was very well taken, and I believe we made a good impression with our testimony."
The opportunity came about after GCLA lobbyists Gregg Cook and Rob Grossglauser of Government Affairs Consulting had approached the CDI to offer explanations on how charter party carriers and TNCs operate and the safety and insurance issues involved. Because of growing concerns about TNC safety, the CDI decided to invite representatives from the limousine industry to its investigative hearing on insurance requirements. "The Insurance Commissioner contacted us and said, 'We are going forward with a hearing. Can you help us?' Cook told LCT. "They asked for a limo operator and an insurance broker. We gave them the names of Rich Azzolino and Lee Martinez. We were engaged from day one."
Cook said the presentation was the first of its kind from a limousine industry association to a state government insurance department on the issue of vehicle insurance rules for TNCs.
The CPUC meets again on Monday, April 21 to consider the CDI recommendations as it works on final plans for a set of regulations governing TNCs, which would include Uber, UberX, Sidecar and Lyft.
-- Martin Romjue, LCT editor