Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Market Insanity

French Uber Rival might start an Insurance Brokerage

France’s $1 billion-dollar Uber rival Blablacar has an interesting plan for cashing in on all the data its gathered about 50 million passengers. The ride-sharing company’s management is thinking of opening an insurance brokerage.

The idea would be to use the data Blablacar has collected on 50 million customers over 10 years to market policies, Bloomberg Technology reported. Another would be to sell insurance policies to Blabalcar’s drivers.

Like Uber, Blablacar is already leasing vehicles to drivers. Unlike Uber, Blabalcar only leases vehicles to select drivers called ambassadors and only leases a few models from Opel and ALD Automotive.

Meet France’s Uber Rival Blablacar

One reason why Blablacar is looking into insurance is that it does not charge riders a fee. Instead, it makes money only from booking trips in France. Blabalcar is valued at over $1 billion and operates in around 22 countries; including Brazil, from which Uber has been banned.

A big advantage that Blablacar has is that it operates in a number of countries Uber has been thrown out of including France. Interestingly enough, Blabalcar is only charging for booking trips in one market: France. Blabalcar has managed to attract around $300 million in venture capital investment.

A combination ride-sharing service and insurance brokerage might work in the United States. Although navigating all the separate laws that states have on insurance would be difficult.

There’s no word on whether Blablacar is coming to America. Although, there might be a market for its’ services among dissatisfied Uber drivers. A problem that Blablacar will face is the name, which sounds terrible to English speakers.

Yet Another Uber Scandal

There is yet another scandal at Uber to report. The ride-sharing company paid hackers $100,000 to keep data about 57 million riders off the black market, Bloomberg Technology reported.

Hackers were able to steal 50 million phone numbers and 600,000 driver’s license numbers in October 2016, Bloomberg Technology reported. Apparently, no Social Security or credit-card numbers were stolen but it is embarrassing.

To make matters worse, Uber security chief Joe Sullivan knew all about the hack and covered it up. One person who was not amused by that was Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi who fired Sullivan. He also hired formed Matt Olsen, a former general counsel at the National Security Agency as an adviser.

One has to wonder what other scandals are there at Uber and how much else Khosrowshahi will have to clean up. That means there might be a real opening for something like Blablacar in English-speaking companies like the United States and the United Kingdom.