LYFT lines

Last week, Lyft grabbed a bunch of headlines by announcing it had organized a “Peer-to-Peer Rideshare Insurance Coalition” to “come together to address how the insurance industry can continue evolving to support the growing peer-to-peer economy.”

When Lyft made its initial announcement, it appeared Uber had not been invited to join the coalition. An Uber spokesperson told me the company wasn’t part of it, and when I asked Lyft whether Sidecar and Uber were invited, a Lyft spokesperson would say only “Sidecar has been invited to be part of the Coalition.” No mention of Uber.

Today Lyft published its list of coalition members and — surprise! — a representative from Uber has made the cut, as has one from Sidecar, two from the CPUC, a senior VP of Allstate Insurance, the founder of Esurance, the former Chief Counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a representative from Farmers Insurance.

It’s an impressive list that ranges from government regulatory representation to insurance industry executives, to the three biggest ridesharing players themselves. The only group missing is the taxi industry, which would arguably play the cheeky devil’s advocate of the coalition. But that’s no surprise.

These members will be meeting the last week of February to discuss insurance issues in ridesharing and, as Lyft puts it, “[t]o build a foundation of insurance best practices, policies and information.”

It’s notable that Uber has joined the coalition, despite its historical enmity with Lyft. Instead of just offering lip service to “safety,” the company is starting to take definite action. From calling all its SF black car drivers in for background checks to sucking up its competition with Lyft to join the insurance coalition, Uber seems to be on a better path.

This is good news for passengers, and for the ridesharing industry generally. There are a lot of regulatory and operations questions to be answered as ridesharing grows bigger and more important, transforming the way we travel in urban areas. More industry discussion around insurance regulations will hopefully lead to better liability coverage and transparency around P2P insurance practices.

Uber seems to agree. Following the announcement of the Lyft coalition news, a spokesperson told Pando, “We believe that a dialogue with policymakers, the insurance industry and other stakeholders is important and we are pleased to be a founding member of the coalition.”

As for Uber — their relationship with rival companies might have changed for the better. I asked the company for comment on what changed between last week’s denial that they were part of the coalition and today’s confirmation that, actually, they are. They didn’t respond.