June 19, 2024

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Glovo’s insurance policy promises coverage but ghosts workers when they file claims

4 min read

Ayomide Olawuyi, a student at the University of Lagos, began working part-time with food delivery app Glovo in September 2023. It was going well for him until one night in April, when he was hit by a car while making a delivery.

The accident left Olawuyi with a broken arm, and the surgery cost him over 500,000 naira ($340). He contacted Glovo from the hospital — the company had assured him that his medical expenses would be covered under insurance.

But over a month later, Olawuyi has not received the payout. He has exchanged several emails, made many calls, and sent numerous WhatsApp messages to different representatives at Glovo. He has shared various documents the company asked for, including a police report, X-ray reports, and receipts of medical bills. He has also been in touch with a claims manager at Glovo’s insurance provider, Ferrer&Ojeda, with no success. 

Olawuyi is not alone.

On a sunny afternoon in early May, more than 100 Glovo delivery riders took to the streets of Lagos, protesting against the company’s unreliable insurance policy. At least four delivery workers at the protest told Rest of World they had met with accidents while making deliveries in the past five months and were still awaiting insurance assistance. The workers said the company’s insurance policy lacks clarity, which leads to uncertainty on whether or not they will get a payout if they meet with an accident on the job.

Glovo’s “insurance policy is a trap,” Olawuyi told Rest of World, adding that he does not want to continue working with the company. He said he is unable to attend university anymore as he was forced to move into a free apartment provided by his church to receive care for his fractured arm.

Lagos’ roads can be dangerous for gig workers. Between January and March this year, the local road safety agency reported more than 110 road accidents. Earlier in the year, a delivery rider was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Lagos. In another incident in February 2022, a motorist killed one delivery worker and injured another.

In an email to Rest of World, Glovo said its “insurance company is covering the needs of couriers in each market, and couriers can easily report any claim to the insurer with whom they have a communication channel to manage any claims and incidents.”

Glovo’s insurance provider, Ferrer&Ojeda, is based in Barcelona, Spain, according to the company’s website and an email correspondence with a Nigerian gig worker seen by Rest of World. The insurer promises to cover medical expenses of up to 727,957.69 naira ($492) for riders who slip, fall off their bikes, or break their arm or leg while on the job.

Several Glovo workers said that the insurer did not understand the ground realities in Nigeria and their working conditions, which makes it hard for them to file claims or lodge complaints.

Forty-year-old Oluwafemi Ganiu has been trying to get reimbursed for the 60,000 naira ($41) he spent treating an injured shoulder and lacerated arm from an accident in January. “I contacted Glovo. In fact, I sent them receipts but no response was made from them,” Ganiu told Rest of World.

Another rider, Easy, who requested to be addressed by his nickname for fear of retribution from the company, has a permanent scar on his face that he said he got from an accident while on the job in February. He told Rest of World he incurred over 160,000 naira ($109) in medical bills. “They collected all the details and necessary receipts,” Easy said. “All of a sudden I [didn’t] hear from [them] again.”

Gig platforms like Glovo are not bound by law to provide health insurance for their delivery workers, experts told Rest of World. But if a platform does make such promises, it is obliged to follow through.

“If it’s clearly stated that they’ll be responsible for insurance during the acquisition of riders, then they should meet up to their obligations,” said Oluwaseun Omotosho, chief operating officer at Gokada, a Lagos-based logistics company. “If their insurance company is based outside Nigeria, they should look for a local partner that will get that sorted for them. It’s what we call brand promise … If they fail in that, that means their integrity is at stake.”

A gathering of Glovo drivers at a protest, they hold banners which say 'Better insurance for all couriers'.

On the day of the protest, Glovo executives met some of the delivery workers, and blamed Ferrer&Ojeda for their difficulties in claiming insurance money, delivery rider Emeka Ani, who was present at the meeting, told Rest of World. The company promised the workers that it was in the process of changing its insurance provider.

“On the day that we had the protest, [Glovo] said the insurance [company] they are using didn’t want to be paying whenever [an] emergency happened,” said Ani, who asked to use a pseudonym for fear of losing his job. “They said they are changing to another company.”

Glovo confirmed this in an email to Rest of World and said it was changing its accident insurance provider for all its couriers worldwide.

“There will not be any changes to the coverage couriers already have access to,” a Glovo spokesperson said. “The new insurer will rely on local partners to provide the best service and the new broker is committed to finding and developing the most effective solutions to provide a positive insurance claim experience.”

The Lagos State Ministry of Justice did not respond to Rest of World’s request for comment.

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