Issues and Activities

Consumers’ Association Calls National Meeting To Discuss Solutions To The Auto Insurance Crisis

Press Release



Sept. 29, 2003

Canadian Politicians Confused - Consumers' Association Calls National Meeting To Discuss Solutions To The Auto Insurance Crisis

OTTAWA, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - "While Canadians are looking to politicians to find solutions to the auto insurance rate issue, many politicians are clearly confused by what solutions should be implemented," said Mr. Mel Fruitman, President of the Consumers' Association of Canada. "Consumers living in provinces with private auto insurance must be shaking their heads in disbelief at what different politicians have done, or are talking about doing, to fix the auto insurance problem."

"In Nova Scotia the Tory Government just congratulated the auto insurance industry for making huge profits this year while the same Government took actions which will result in even higher profits in the future by reducing benefits paid to victims of crashes," said Mr. Bruce Cran, National Secretary of the Consumers' Association. "But the Tory Government in Alberta, unlike the one in Nova Scotia, clearly doesn't believe the insurance industry's tales of financial hardship and is proposing to impose unprecedented profit controls on this industry."

It doesn't end there," said Mr. Cran. "The Liberal Party in Ontario has rejected public auto as a solution during Ontario's current election campaign, while the Liberal Party in Alberta strongly supports public auto as a solution to Alberta's insurance woes."

Meanwhile, New Brunswick's Tory Government has just done the "political twist". Weeks after rushing to implement caps on auto insurance benefits without consulting consumers, the Government has switched direction on auto insurance. It has appointed the Leader of that province's New Democratic Party to head up a Legislative Committee to fully and openly consider the public auto insurance option.

"We are pleased that the Association's recent national study on auto insurance rates, which was intended to bring national attention to the issue and spur Governments to fully consider auto insurance reform, has had an impact," said Mr. Cran.

Meanwhile, in British Columbia, even more strange political behaviour is underway. "For some unknown reason the Liberal Government has instructed the Insurance Corporation of BC, it's public auto insurer, to implement private auto insurance rating practices. Consumers in Alberta and Ontario are fed up with these practises but British Columbia is about to implement them," said Mr. Cran. Why? According to the Insurance Corporation of BC it needs to change its rates in order to become more competitive with private insurers. "This is another statement that leads to consumer disbelief when it comes to politicians and auto insurance," said Mr. Bruce Cran, "The Insurance Corporation of BC already has 90% of the market for so-called "optional" insurance, so why does it need more?"

Given all this political confusion the Consumers' Association of Canada is calling a national meeting of interested parties to discuss the auto insurance issue. This meeting will be held before the end of the year and more details will be released soon.

The Association's national study on auto insurance rates released on September 10, 2003, that showed provinces with private insurance had much higher rates than provinces with public auto systems like British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The study may be downloaded here.

The Consumers' Association has set up a web-based feedback form for consumers who want to talk about auto insurance. "We invite consumers from across Canada to click on the CAC website and fill out a form that allows a consumer to tell us their insurance story," said Mr. Cran.


For further information contact Mr. Bruce Cran: (604) 454-7827