they are protecting for the laws that exist that protect them, to be enforced. It's their rights. To be a taxi driver you need a pay a massive license fee, that's how it is. You can't just tell people you're a taxi driver and start making money, there's the insurances and all that, needed. Uber has NONE of it. If anything happens in a "uber taxi", you, your family and friends, essentially eat sh*t. Because not only was your using their illegal, they also don't any have sort of insurance that can protect you.
In the USA? Not quite.
Uber is not a taxi, it's a limo service. Limos are regulated in some (all?) states, but differently than taxis. You can't hail a limo on the street (or airport lane), you have to call them (phone or app) to specifically come to you. Limos don't have "medallions" and are not a limited quantity. The requirements for special driver's license, insurance, and so on, are different than taxis.
Uber provides significant insurance to it's drivers, and it's not "illegal" (at least not in the USA). And they do pay out on claims. Other tort arguments seem unlikely. HOWEVER: When you drive for Uber, your own PERSONAL insurance policy is probably void (most carriers). In fact, if you have EVER used your vehicle for Uber, your insurance is voided -- even if your claim had nothing to do with any Uber trip. If you get hit on the way to the grocery store or injure someone on your way to your day job, your nasty surprise is that you had no valid insurance at that time. Because you once on another occasion used your vehicle for a purpose that totally voids your insurance.
When you call up an insurance company these days to report an accident, the very first words out of their mouth are: "Have you ever used your vehicle for Uber, Lyft, or anything like that?" Because if they find out (and, being insurance investigators, they WILL find out) that the answer is "Yes", then they will inform you that at that time, you voided all your insurance. You Are Fucked.