Consumers’ Association Issues National Consumer Advisory On Auto Insurance Industry Practices
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2003
OTTAWA, Aug. 3 /CNW/ - The Consumers' Association of Canada on July 22, 2003 asked consumers from across Canada to speak out about their experiences with auto insurance and comments have been flooding in. The Association is now reporting the first results. "It is fair to say that many consumers are very upset with auto insurance companies," said Mr. Mel Fruitman, President of the Consumers Association of Canada, "and it goes far beyond the issue of rates.
We appreciate the feedback from consumers and as a result of their experiences our Association is issuing a National Consumer Advisory on auto insurance effective today."
"It is not just a matter of sky high rates that has consumers angry," said Bruce Cran, National Secretary of the Association. "It is the shabby way many consumers have been treated by auto insurance companies. Consumers have an expectation that when they buy a product like auto insurance that they will be treated fairly and with respect. This hasn't happened."
Consumers have reported to the Association that they have been arbitrarily blacklisted, charged premiums for vehicles they no longer owned, had their rates increase after a policy was purchased then told to "take it or leave it", forced to keep paying for policies on vehicles they didn't even own so not to be penalized by a break in coverage, and had their premiums increase just by talking with their auto insurer about minor damage to their vehicle even though no claim was made. "The everyday business practices of auto insurance companies has caused untold personal distress and financial hardship to many consumers in provinces like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta and Ontario," said Mr. Cran.
"One consumer told us about a vehicle that had been sold for parts and the insurance company continued to automatically deduct monthly premiums for the following three years without any approval from the consumer," said Mr. Cran.
"Many consumers are upset with insurance companies recording minor fender benders as "incidents" that are then used in the following year to dramatically increase premiums even though no claim is ever made," said Mr. Cran. "We even had a law enforcement official report that this had happened on their personal vehicle."
As a result, effective today, the Consumers Association of Canada is issuing a National Consumer Advisory on auto insurance. The Association is advising consumers to closely review their auto insurance policy to determine if even a phone call to their insurer would result in an increase in rates even if no claim were ever made.
"Many consumers are asking for help to rectify private auto insurance industry practices and Governments have failed to deliver. Governments in provinces like Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have failed to recognize that consumers are upset not only about rates but also industry practices," said Mr. Cran.
The Consumers' Association continues to invite consumers to contact them to tell their auto insurance story