Zipcar founder Robin Chase exited Zipcar fairly early on but she’s resurfaced in the last few years with a peer-to-peer car sharing service in France called Buzzcar. She says that Buzzcar has 5,000 cars across France in its network and 15,000 drivers. It’s a modest beginning.
In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, she was asked whether she would bring Buzzcar to the U.S. She responded:
I continue to pound in the U.S. for insurance that I think is acceptable. While drivers are covered for driving, the issue is the owner’s underlying insurance. If their personal policyholder finds out that they’re renting out their car, they can choose to cancel.
The insurance questions remains a core issue with many share economy models. There’s a looming issue with companies like Airbnb about whether hosts’ homeowners insurance can be voided if they’re renting out their house. The same goes for putting one’s car in a peer-to-peer car sharing network, although some states like California have enacted laws preventing insurance voiding.
I still believe the insurance issues will eventually be resolved across multiple share economy business models. But the question remains whether those startups in the space will find the capital to sustain them as they deal with some of the regulatory headaches that grow out of disrupting the establishment.