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Consumers’ Association Study Confirms Alberta Is A Have-Not Province When It Comes To Auto Insurance

Press Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

August 27, 2003

Consumers' Association Study Confirms Alberta Is A Have Not province When It Comes To Auto Insurance

CALGARY, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - "Auto insurance rates in Alberta are completelyout of step with other western provinces", said Mr. Mel Fruitman, President of the Consumers' Association of Canada at a news conference held today in Calgary. "Some drivers in Alberta pay up to 500% more for auto insurance than do consumers in provinces like Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia which have public auto systems."

The Consumers' Association today released the latest results of its soon to be completed national study of auto insurance rates across Canada, including data from all four western provinces. The study may be downloaded from the reports section at www.CACBC.com.

"While consumers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are benefitting from long term stable auto insurance rates, consumers in Alberta have been subject to skyrocketing rates and are fed up with the actions of private insurers," said Mr. Bruce Cran, National Secretary of the Consumers Association. "Clearly, Alberta is now the have-not province in the west in terms of auto insurance."

Just how ridiculous the situation has become in Alberta is illustrated by a comparison of the two cities of Lloydminster, Alberta vs. Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. "A person living 100 feet across the street on the Alberta side can pay up to $5000 more each year for the same vehicle and get worse insurance coverage," said Mr. Cran. "It is no surprise that some consumers are fleeing Alberta and illegally registering their vehicles in Saskatchewan where rates are much lower."

The Alberta Government reacted to consumer outrage about auto insurance by setting up a secret committee to look at it, not by establishing a public consultation process. "This committee has no representation either from groups representing victims of crashes or consumer groups, but consists of lawyers, bureaucrats and insurance company types. This 'old boys' committee holds all its meetings in secret, has held no public consultations and will soon announce the same solution that hasn't worked in any other province," said Mr. Cran.

"This secret committee is likely going to recommend that the Alberta Government impose even more caps on benefits paid to victims of crashes", said Mr. Cran. Alberta already caps medical benefits at $10,000 while British Columbia pays up to $150,000 in medical benefits to victims of crashes. "The net result will be Albertans will continue to pay more and get less and less," said Mr. Cran.

Why should a young driver with a clean driving record have to pay 100% more to drive a ten year old car compared to a middle aged driver who owns a BMW and has driving convictions? "That's the case in Alberta, but not in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where if you are a bad driver you pay more, irrespective of your age," said Mr. Cran.

The Consumers' Association has set up a web-based feedback form for drivers in Canada who want to talk about auto insurance. "We invite any driver to click on the CAC website and fill out a form that allows a consumer to tell us their auto insurance story", said Mr. Cran. "Some of the stories we have received over the last weeks have been heart wrenching and our Association will try to assist individual consumers where we can."

Note For Media - The Press Conference is on August 27, 2003 at 10 AM Calgary time. Media can attend the press conference in person at the Westin Hotel, 320 4th Ave, in downtown Calgary. Media outside Calgary can call Mr. Bruce Cran at (604) 454-7827 anytime after 11 AM for interviews.

 

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