Grab, an Asian car- and motorcycle-hailing app, said it will provide free personal accident insurance for GrabTaxi and GrabBike passengers and drivers, a possible edge in competing with U.S.-based Uber in Southeast Asia.
While many vehicle owners take out so-called third-party insurance — insurance for who they hit — the people in their cars aren't covered. Now, Grab says they will be for up to $250,000, Channel News Asia reported. That could be an edge especially in some countries where Grab operates, going by their high road traffic death rates. In Malaysia and Vietnam it is about 24 deaths per 100,000 population, according to the World Health Organization. The world average is 17.4 and the U.S. rate is 10.6.
Grab also operates in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
Insurance is not the only step Grab has taken to protect its drivers and passengers. It's already giving defensive-driving training to its motorcycle drivers in the Philippines and Indonesia, and plans to do so soon in Indonesia, Channel News Asia said. GrabBike is becoming popular in the region, where fast economic growth and booming car sales has given Manila, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur some of the longest commutes in the world, according to Waze.
Grab is part of an alliance that includes China's Didi Kuaidi, India's Ola and U.S.-based Lyft that is trying to compete with Uber, which can outspend them after attracting so much investor interest that it is valued more than companies like Hertz and General Motors. Uber has already started offering motorcycle rides in Asia.