Why on-demand grocery delivery apps should insure their employees

7 minutes to read
In a nutshell

Many on-demand grocery platforms hire their couriers as employees. While this guarantees coverage through European social security systems, many countries fall short when protecting delivery riders against added risk.

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The on-demand grocery industry in Europe has become increasingly saturated during the pandemic. And with many dark stores launching in the past two years alone – like Gorillas, Flink and Dija to name a few – the trend shows little signs of slowing down. 

In order to stand out among the pack, dark stores are doing everything they can to differentiate themselves and attract new delivery riders. Unfortunately, many employers often overlook insurance as a key part of that strategy, thinking it's only for freelance gig workers.

Here’s why offering courier insurance to employees should be an integral part of any on-demand grocery delivery app’s efforts to hire and retain the best talent.


A man with a face mask shopping for groceries in a supermarket aisle
Insurance isn't just a necessity for freelance gig workers, but for employed delivery riders too.

Dark stores are disrupting the grocery delivery market

Who wouldn’t want some beer or toothpaste delivered to them in under 10 minutes? We get it – our Co-founder Jean-Charles Velge was so amazed by the concept that he even ordered a single banana once to show new hires how powerful dark stores can be.

As Gorillas Co-founder and CEO Kağan Sümer once said, ‘We were 100% sure about one thing: if you go to the f*cking moon, you shouldn't go to the supermarket. We have the technology to go to space and we’re still going to the supermarket? This is counterintuitive.’

Indeed, on-demand grocery delivery services – namely dark stores – are having their moment. 

While this means that customers get to chill at home in their pyjamas – even more ideal in today’s pandemic world –  it also means that couriers are working harder than ever to deliver what people want when they want it. And this puts them at an increased risk while on the job.

Products lining the shelves of a grocery store aisle.
When it comes to on-demand grocery delivery, dark stores have exploded in popularity.

National employee insurance doesn’t cut it for high-risk delivery riders

According to Smart cooperative, delivery riders are 15 times more likely to have an accident while working than traditional employees. This is especially true for dark store couriers, who primarily operate in dense urban areas like London and Berlin. 

Think about it: delivery riders on bicycles or motorbikes are highly vulnerable to accidents on a daily basis.

And yet, employed couriers and those with more traditional office jobs fall under the same status in the eyes of national social security systems. So while I, the author of this blog (Hello, I’m Alex 👋), am highly unlikely to suffer an injury while writing from behind my computer, the same cannot be said for the cyclist who will deliver my lunch.

Depending on the European country, employee social security systems don’t always provide sufficient coverage for the added risk that couriers face on a daily basis – especially when it comes to accident and sickness, the two most crucial types of coverage for delivery workers.

Some countries don’t adequately cover the loss of income in case of illness or permanent disability, while others only cover part of the medical costs associated with a workplace accident. So while you may think that your employees are covered if something happens on the road, the truth is that many national security systems fall short.

A broken bike lying on the ground after an accident.
Delivery employees who are constantly on the road need additional coverage.

Did you know:

  • In Spain, employed riders lose 25 to 40% of their income during sick leave?
  • If an employed rider in Italy causes injury to a third party, they have to pay the cost themselves?
  • If a rider needs glasses or contact lenses due to an accident in the Netherlands they have to pay out of pocket?

As you can see, employee status doesn’t solve everything. It often means that riders go from being self-employed to being very precariously employed. For delivery riders who are constantly on the road, there are clear gaps when it comes to national security system compensation. And this can have serious implications for delivery workers and their families should something happen.

That’s why additional insurance coverage is necessary to help fill those gaps for employees that need it most.


At Qover, we can help you attract talent with competitive employee benefits.

Hire and retain delivery employees with additional insurance

For on-demand delivery riders, accident and sickness coverage are must-haves. In fact, according to our data, 75% of riders' claims in Europe are linked to these types of incidents alone.

Whether a delivery worker is sick or involved in an accident, the loss of income can be devastating for them and their families. That’s why expanded coverage for couriers is crucial – it’s never been more important for employers in the delivery space to show that they care.

After all, delivery rider insurance and workplace benefits can make all the difference in a potential candidate choosing one on-demand platform over another.

Remember the problems we highlighted above?

  • In Spain, employed riders lose 25 to 40% of their income during sick leave. → In Spain, riders with Qover would benefit from 100% of their salary during sick leave.
  • If an employed rider in Italy causes injury to a third party, they have to pay the cost themselves? → Qover ensures that delivery employees in Italy are financially supported in the case of a third party liability claim.
  • If a rider needs glasses or contact lenses due to an accident in the Netherlands they have to pay out of pocket? → With Qover, riders get an extra amount to cover optical devices in case of an accident.

With Qover’s insurance tailored to disruptive delivery players, you can show that you have your riders’ backs with qualitative and competitive benefits, therefore attracting new talent, and motivating and retaining your employees.

Courier insurance doesn’t have to be complex

If you’re considering potential insurers, it’s crucial to work with someone who understands the complexity of today’s delivery environment. Luckily, InsurTechs are adapting to the needs of new disruptive players across Europe.

A delivery rider on a bike on a busy city street at night.
Courier insurance can be digital and Pan-European, or even global.

It can be 100% digital

As digital natives, InsurTechs like Qover understand the importance of speed and agility across the board, starting with fast implementation. With our innovative insurance solutions, it’s easy to integrate delivery rider insurance into your app or platform.

And this agility extends to a smooth, centralised claims process. Since your riders are at a higher risk of incident, that means more potential issues or claims. That’s why our customer care is super responsive and multilingual – with a 95% customer satisfaction rate. Quick resolution is important for both you and your employees’ peace of mind so that you can focus on your core business. 

It can be Pan-European, or even global

Our delivery and gig partners often want to homogenise their approach to courier insurance across borders, but also be able to act quickly in each country.

This means being privy to the nuances of each market. Not to mention that in addition to national employee benefits, some countries impose additional coverage through collective agreements, which can be highly localised and complex.

For example, the Netherlands has collective agreements that specifically require employers to provide coverage protecting employees in case of accidental death and permanent disability. As more of these agreements are created, the burden on employers will only increase. And since you’re likely more focused on growing your business than the specificities of each country, it can be hard to keep up.

With Qover, delivery rider insurance is not only easy to set up but it can also expand as your business does. Being active in 32 countries, our team has deep expertise on employee benefits, social security systems and collective agreements. Our goal is to make insurance easy to navigate so that you answer to local regulations while giving your riders the best coverage anywhere in Europe. 


A Deliveroo worker standing next to his bike.
InsurTechs can work with disruptive delivery and gig economy players to find the right coverage for their employees.

It can be tailored to the delivery economy

It’s important that your insurer understands the risk associated with the delivery and gig economy. Since 2018, we’ve helped Deliveroo cover more than 100,000 of its riders across the continent. By leveraging both our flexibility and scalability, Deliveroo riders in multiple countries are covered as soon as they log onto the app.

This on-demand solution is particularly useful for delivery economy players as it limits the cost of insurance by having the coverage only apply during a rider’s shift as opposed to a blanket employee benefit. 

The bottom line: as the on-demand grocery delivery industry grows, insurance for delivery employees has become a necessity rather than a nice-to-have. Don’t leave your couriers in the dark. 


If you’re looking to attract and retain the best riders for your dark store business, get in touch to see how digital insurance can help you.

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