Philomena Comerford and Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers have served Toronto’s Taxi industry for half of a century. Photo: Riverside
Submission to: 2021 Vehicle-for-Hire By-law Review, City of Toronto
Thank you for allowing Baird MacGregor this opportunity to provide comments to the 2021 Vehicle-for-Hire By-law Updates.
Baird MacGregor has been providing Taxicab and Limousine professionals across Canada with a broad range of insurance products and services since 1979. Our dedicated Taxi and Limo team knows the ground transportation business and understands its unique needs.
Over the past two years, perhaps the most crucially important focus of our work has been to keep insurance companies engaged in the vehicle-for-hire market. At one precarious point in 2020, there were only two insurance companies in all of Canada which were willing to insure Taxis within the geographic boundaries of the City of Toronto. Several insurers have withdrawn in recent years from underwriting taxis and limousines citing lack of training and risk management as a factor contributing to escalating claims costs.
Our Taxi and Limo team has left no stone unturned on its mission to retain the engaged insurers and encourage others; however, the looming spectre of a day when Taxi operators have no option for insurance but the Facility pool (at an estimated cost of $14,000 – $25,000 per year) remains a real threat.
In launching its review of the Taxicab industry in 2012, Toronto cited its three highest priorities as
- Consumer protection
- Health and safety
- City well-being
In fact, Toronto’s “Framework for Change” in the Taxi industry recommended: “All taxicab drivers to complete a simulator driving course to better equip drivers with defensive driving skills.
The challenges faced in the vehicle-for-hire insurance market and the risks presented when insurers lose appetite for offering coverage are real. However, Toronto needs and must have these professional drivers, and they must be properly insured. We were keenly disappointed when the City of Toronto eliminated Taxi driver training in 2016.
We were encouraged to see Council direct staff to design and implement a driver training and testing program in July of 2019; however, more than two years later no program has materialized. This delay is disconcerting but should once again be prioritized now that the city is opening up on account of increased Covid vaccination levels.
Baird MacGregor, as one of the preeminent insurers of Taxi and Limo drivers in Toronto for more than four decades, takes the opportunity of this Review to remind the City of its commitment to design and implement a driver training and testing program. This program should include defensive driving and in-car components, as recommended by its own “Framework for Change.”
By doing so, Toronto can help stabilize its critical passenger transportation infrastructure by keeping insurers engaged inside its boundaries.
Philomena Comerford CIP, CCIC
President & CEO
Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP|Hargraft Schofield LP