Airtasker launches insurance for task-based work

Insurance provided by Lloyd’s covers up to $20,000 in third-party property damage or personal injury
  • Adam Bender (Techworld Australia)
  • 13 March, 2014 13:47
Airtasker co-founders Tim Fung (left) and Jonathan Lui.

Airtasker co-founders Tim Fung (left) and Jonathan Lui.

Airtasker will offer insurance covering its task runners for accidents on the job.

The Sydney-based startup has a website that helps people or businesses find workers for a specific task. A “sender” can post a task – deliveries, house cleaning or computer tasks, for example – and then potential “runners” bid for the chance to complete the job.

Airtasker, launched in February 2012, has more than 100,000 users and has hosted 25,000 jobs in Australia – worth a combined $2.7 million per year. However, the site has never before offered financial protection for users should any conflicts arise between senders and runners.

Airtasker Insurance, announced today, is a public liability insurance policy developed by Lloyd’s of London that will cover runners for up to $20 million in third-party property damage and personal injury, including bodily injury, invasion of privacy, defamation, assault or battery.

Airtasker Insurance automatically covers users worldwide except for the US and Canada. However, each claim is subject to an excess and there are exclusions not covered by the insurance.

“The insurance provides protection for a marketplace which has operated in a ‘grey area’ for a while because it’s all so new,” said Airtasker CEO Tim Fung. “Now, people and businesses can use Airtasker with even greater peace of mind.”

Fung told Techworld Australia that Airtasker had so far not experienced many incidents where there was a dispute between a sender and a runner.

“We did have one instance in which a [runner] wall mounted a television and accidentally drilled a hole in the wrong spot,” he said.

“Our customer service team deployed another tradesman to patch the wall up (via Airtasker) but going forward incidents such as this would be covered under Airtasker Insurance.”

The announcement marks the first time in Australia that an insurance policy has covered workers on a task-by-task basis, said Fung.

“Normally insurance is offered as part of an annual premium model – but collaborative consumption sites like Airtasker are forcing a step change in the way people are covered and should be offered insurance protection.”

Lloyd’s has built insurance for innovative companies before. The insurance company also provides insurance for Airbnb, an online platform that lets users list their apartment, house or mansion as a holiday rental and facilitates the transaction between renter and seller.

“The fact that a global insurance provider has developed this insurance product for us underlines the growth and steady increase in labour casualisation and represents a huge structural change in the employment sector,” said Fung.

Adam Bender covers startup and business tech issues for Techworld and is the author of a dystopian novel about surveillance. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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