Report: Car Insurance Prices Rise in Alberta, Decline in Ontario

Press Release:

Today, LowestRates.ca launched its 2018 Auto Insurance Price Index report, the country’s only price index that uses proprietary data to track the average cost Canadians pay for car insurance on a quarterly basis. The index uses the hundreds of thousands of quotes processed annually by LowestRates.ca, an online rate comparison site for insurance, mortgages, loans and credit card rates, to collect the data.

The report shows that since Q4 of 2016, the price of auto insurance in Alberta has been trending upward, increasing by 5.1% in the last year, which means that the average consumer in Alberta paid more for car insurance in 2017 than she did in 2016. In comparison, prices in Ontario over the past year have been trending downward, decreasing by 4.9% in the last year. This means that, on average, consumers in Ontario paid less for auto insurance in 2017 than in 2016 (though there was a slight increase in the last quarter of the year). The Auto Insurance Price Index gives consumers a comprehensive look at the trends in pricing, ensuring that they are better informed when it comes time to renew their insurance policy.

“The car insurance industry can be a bit of a mystery to consumers, and that’s the main reason we created the Auto Insurance Price Index—to pull back the curtain and give consumers the information they need to make the decisions that work best for them,” said Justin Thouin, Co-Founder and CEO of LowestRates.ca. “We hope consumers can use this information to make better decisions. Don’t accept rate increases if our index shows prices falling in your province.”

Auto insurance prices in Alberta have increased from 98 on the index in Q4 of 2016, to 103 in Q4 of 2017, while prices in Ontario have gone from an index score of 102 to 97 within the last year. The index works by looking at the average price for quotes on LowestRates.ca, with each quarter compared against Q2 2017 (the benchmark quarter). Each point on the index above 100 represents a 1% change in prices. For instance, a 105 index reading would mean the price has increased by 5% since Q2 2017.

Breaking the report down by age:

Alberta

  • 18- to 24-year-olds are paying 2.3% more compared to Q4 2016
  • 25- to 44-year-olds are paying 0.84% more than they did in 2016
  • 45-year-olds and up are paying 5.6% more than they did in 2016

Ontario

  • 18- to 24-year-olds are paying 11.8% less than 2016
  • 25- to 44-year-olds are paying 3.2% less than 2016
  • 45-year-olds and up are paying 10.8% less than 2016

Breaking the report down by sex:

Alberta

  • Men are paying 5.9% more than in 2016
  • Women are paying 2.9% more than in 2016

Ontario

  • Men are paying 6.9% less than in 2016
  • Women are paying 1.9% more than in 2016

Insurance companies determine rates based on their costs—particularly how many accident claims they receive each month, and how expensive those claims are. If claims rise in a given quarter, premiums can go up for some insurers, even if others lower their prices. The LowestRates.ca Auto Insurance Price Index tracks the percentage change in the average quote requested for car insurance by individual drivers residing in Ontario and Alberta, insuring only one vehicle.

Other notable trends include:

  • The average premium in Ontario is $1,458, based on data from the Ontario Ministry of Finance. In comparison, the average for all other provinces and territories in Canada is $930. That makes Ontario’s average price 44% higher than the rest of Canada.
  • In Ontario, car insurance rates have been trending higher in the most recent quarter, with the average premium rising 3.2% in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter of 2017. But rates have dropped 4.9% year-over-year.
  • The average premium in Alberta is $1,179. That makes Alberta, on average, 23.6% more expensive for car insurance than the Canadian average.
  • In Alberta, auto insurance rates are up 5.1% compared to last year. In the fourth quarter, the average rate for car insurance rose 1% from the third quarter of 2017.

The full report can be found here.

About LowestRates.ca

LowestRates.ca is an online rate comparison site for insurance, mortgages, loans and credit card rates in Canada. The free, independent service connects directly with financial institutions and providers from all over North America to provide Canadians with a comprehensive list of rates. LowestRates.ca wants to help everyone become more financially literate, with a goal of saving Canadians $1 billion in interest and fees.

SOURCE LowestRates.ca

Insurance company uncovers ‘pervasive’ auto body shop scams; urges action

By Colin Perkel

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Workers at auto body shops deliberately damaged cars, installed used parts but billed for new ones, or invoiced for phantom repairs, according to an investigation by a Canadian insurer that is calling on government to help in curbing the problem.

Aviva Canada found about half the total expenses submitted for repairs to crashed vehicles during its investigation in Ontario were bogus an amount the company estimates adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

“Nobody has ever really sampled the extent of fraud with any kind of accuracy,” Gordon Rasbach, Aviva Canada’s vice president of fraud management, said in an interview. “This is the first time in Canada that we’re aware of that anyone has actually taken a sample, albeit a small one, at random, and used actual cases in progress to put some kind of numbers on it.”

In its investigation results are to be released on Monday Aviva attempted to simulate typical fender-bender situations involving private passenger cars by deliberately crashing 10 vehicles.

The company had experts detail the damage and estimate repair costs, then kitted out the cars with hidden cameras and, at various times last year, put them on highways in the Toronto area. Investigators posed as hapless drivers just having gone through their first crash.

Rasbach said he was surprised only one repair outfit acted honestly. The other nine cases showed some degree of “clear cut” fraud, he said. While Aviva’s experts had estimated total damage for the 10 vehicles at about $30,000, the repair shops invoiced Aviva for about $61,000, the company says.

Among other things Aviva says occurred were tow-truck drivers who billed for towing and storage that didn’t happen, drivers who were asked to sign blank work orders, cars maliciously damaged at body shops, and shenanigans over repaired or replaced parts.

“The video footage and clear evidence of fraudulent invoicing shows just how pervasive the problem of fraud is,” Rasbach said. “Honest consumers are the ones that are paying for it.”

Insurance fraud eats into the bottom lines of companies like Aviva.

Industry estimates suggest between five and 15 per cent of premiums drivers pay for car insurance go toward covering undetected fraudulent claims. Aviva, whose own tactics in fighting legitimate claims have come under fire by the courts, says more has to be done to combat fraud. Among other things, it wants governments to force insurance companies to report and share information when fraud is identified.

“In Canada, insurers are not only not compelled to report fraud, they’re not even compelled to do something about it,” Rasbach said. “The insurers themselves don’t seem to be able to get their act together on this problem.”

Banning referral fees to third parties for example a tow-truck driver who gets paid to take a vehicle to a specific facility and making it illegal to ask consumers to sign blank work orders are other measures the government should take, Aviva said.

A spokeswoman for Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the government was making structural reforms to address fraud but did not comment on any of the ideas put forward by Aviva.

Ken Whitehurst, executive director of the Consumers Association of Canada, expressed skepticism the fraud is as extensive as claimed given that repairs are often done at body shops recommended by the insurance companies themselves. However, Aviva deserves some credit, he said.

“It’s great that they are illustrating that (fraud) is really happening,” Whitehurst said. “It’s a positive thing that they’re trying to come up with what they hope are low cost ideas (to address it).”

The Aviva study comes just months ahead of a provincial election in Ontario, where high auto-insurance premiums have been a perennial hot topic for decades. A report previously commissioned by the province found the average policy for a vehicle in 2015 was $1,458 double that in Quebec and almost 55 per cent higher than the Canadian average.

That report, which focused on curbing sharply rising costs related to crash-related health-care benefits, prompted the province among other things to begin developing standard treatment plans. In addition, Ontario has announced plans to set up a “Serious Fraud Office” to combat fraud with a focus on auto insurance.

A previous Aviva investigation into a scam involving claims for accident-related health benefits in the Toronto area prompted a police probe that led to fraud charges against three people.

ICBC spends $800,000 in damage claims for Ferrari that crashed into pole

By Amy Smart

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER _ British Columbia’s public auto insurer says it has spent $789,375 in damage claims for a Ferrari that crashed into a pole.

The Insurance Corp. of B.C. is embroiled in a court battle over the claims and repairs, which it says could cost more than $982,000 in total.

According to documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court, the plaintiff accidentally drove the 1990 Ferrari F40 into a utility pole on Sept. 9, 2012, leaving it badly damaged.

The repairs have yet to be completed according to a judgment in the case, though ICBC said it’s done its part.

The driver argued in the documents that ICBC breached an implied duty to process his claim and carry out the repairs in good faith and a timely manner.

“He alleges further that ICBC acted in bad faith in refusing, at least for a time, to approve and arrange the needed repair work and that delay has caused him various kinds of harm,” a judgment in the case reads.

Following an investigation, ICBC eventually admitted coverage and agreed to cover most of the cost of repairs. But it said it already paid enough toward the claim, since its payments exceed the cash value of the car which an arbitrator pinned at $696,061 in 2014.

The case is ongoing.

Kris Sims, B.C. director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said the case is a perfect example of why the province should do away with the Crown corporation and leave auto insurance to private companies.

“We end up with this swamp of ineptitude and delays. This perfectly highlights it here we’ve got someone who has $900,000 worth of repairs needed and a government monopoly not equipped to do it,” Sims said.

She said private insurers are better equipped to insure cars because competition gives them incentive to expediate both claim and court processes, with legal teams, estimators, repair specialists on hand.

Taxpayers should be responsible for neither the damage claims nor the court costs, Sims said.

“We’re unfortunately all in this together, whether we like it or not,” she said.

Last week, the province introduced an online survey on major shifts being considered to modernize ICBC.

The provincial budget forecast a $1.3-billion deficit at the Crown corporation this year and Attorney General David Eby described the situation as a “dumpster fire” he said he inherited from the former Liberal government.

An Ernst and Young report commissioned by the Liberals last year suggested charging higher rates for luxury vehicles, among a suite of options for reducing losses at ICBC.

CAA applauds continued calls to protect Ontario motorists

A new report released today by Aviva Canada revealing the frequency and depth of auto insurance fraud in Ontario, reinforces CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) continued advocacy efforts calling on the provincial government to make regulating the towing industry a priority.

In 2017, Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act established certain measures to safeguard motorists. Tow operators are prevented from charging excessive amounts for service, and drivers have the option to choose where to have their vehicle towed to. Other measures include:

  • Giving motorists the option to pay with a credit card
  • Providing an itemized invoice listing the services provided and costs involved before receiving any payment
  • Disclose if they are receiving a financial incentive for towing a vehicle to a particular storage facility or repair shop

CAA has been actively working with stakeholders and government officials to work towards provincial regulation of the towing industry.

Regulating the industry would enhance consumer protection for motorists. It would provide consistent levels of training for operators, and ensure the vitality of an important industry on our roads.

“The need for provincial regulation of the tow truck industry is underscored by the continuing challenges related to consumer protection and choice on Ontario’s roads,” said Elliott Silverstein, manager, government relations at CAA South Central Ontario.

Although collisions represent a small portion of towing services conducted in Ontario, these incidents are considerably more expensive, are susceptible to fraudulent behaviours and activities, and occur when motorists are most vulnerable.

“Fraud in the auto insurance industry is multi-faceted, and provincial towing regulation is one of many potential solutions,” said Silverstein. “The findings in Aviva’s latest report reinforces CAA’s efforts to encourage the provincial government to help resolve challenges in this sector, and keep motorists safe across Ontario if and when they require assistance.”

In August 2017, CAA engaged Ipsos to survey Ontario motorists about their knowledge of their rights and the rules and regulations for the towing industry.

The research indicated that only 51 per cent of motorists said they felt educated about their rights, and do not feel protected. The survey also showed that 53 per cent of respondents were not aware that costs and requirements for towing differ across Ontario.

About CAA South Central Ontario
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of nine auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and Member savings for our over 2 million Members.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

Revolutionary Change to the New Driver Experience in Canada

NEWS PROVIDED BY

InsureMy Inc.

InsureMy Inc., a Calgary-based insurance brokerage, in partnership with Trak Global Group, the UK based market leader in insurance telematics, today announced the official launch of Drive With Carrot – a power play to create a new generation of safer, smarter drivers, and improve road safety for all.

Safe Driving is Rewarding…
As the exclusive Canadian distributor of Carrot’s New Driver program, the InsureMy product will allow new drivers to track and self-regulate their driving behaviour through an app-based tool. Using the technology of telematics, driving data such as speed, cornering, braking, and harsh stops and starts will be collected by and delivered directly to the driver’s smartphone app, providing a score for each trip. The program offers young drivers recommendations to help improve their performance behind the wheel, and for those maintaining consistently good scores, it’s all about the rewards. Cash rewards are issued on a reloadable credit card quarterly, with the earning potential of up to $200 per year. Not to mention the discount to a new driver’s policy just for enrolling in the program. A powerful example of how consumers can put the data they own to work for their personal benefit. The information gathered is accessible only by the New Driver and Coach associated with the program – InsureMy can only access this information with the consent of the customer.

Not Just Better Drivers – Better Coaches Too…
The Program also provides parents of Carrot’s new drivers with an online dashboard of their own to logon and review their new driver’s performance – this brings monumental change to coaching. Not only does this give parents peace of mind when they cannot sit passenger-side, but using fact-based data to steer their drivers towards smarter behaviours on the road takes the emotion out of the equation and reduces the stress in the young driver-coach relationship.

Experience Counts…
“The partnership with Trak Global just made sense, they’ve implemented this program in the UK and countries across the globe with stellar results. They’ve also been recognized internationally for their contribution to improving safety amongst novice drivers,” notes InsureMy President, Hugh McTavish, speaking in particular of Carrot UK’s track record of reducing road traffic collisions amongst its newly qualified policyholders by 42%. “We set out to change the way we approach insurance, to be more than just a policy provider in the eyes of our customers. Bringing this type of ground breaking change to the driver safety and the new driver experience in Canada is just the beginning,” concluded McTavish.

The team at Trak Global has worked tirelessly to adapt the app for its Canadian debut and they couldn’t be more pleased with the results. “Guiding just one more partner on this journey to success is thrilling for us, we are proud to be at the forefront of driver safety on an international scale,” Nick Corrie, CEO of Trak Global Group. “InsureMy has invested an unparalleled amount of effort into bringing New Driver to life in Canada and this just solidifies our choice to work with such a dedicated provider, working toward our common goal.”

Connected Insurance Solutions for a Connected World…
Adding to the already robust line of telematics-based insurance products, the Carrot New Driver app will be available for download on both iOS and Android platforms effective March 8th, 2018.

To put an InsureMy policy to work for you, or for further information on the complete line of InsureMy products, contact Gord Mansfield at 1-844-410-1896.

About InsureMy Inc.:
InsureMy is a full service insurance brokerage, emerging as a market leader in the management and delivery of data based insurance products. Empowering customers to manage costs, regulate driving performance, and minimize their environmental impact by leveraging technological advances in the collection and practical application of data. For information please visit, http://www.insuremy.ca.

About Trak Global Group
Headquartered in the UK, Trak Global Group has been creating results-driven telematics solutions for the insurance, rental, fleet, and automotive industries since 2009. The Group works with some of the world’s biggest brands in these sectors, using technology and big data to help manage driver risk. The Group’s innovation hub, Trak Labs, is dedicated to developing IP and collaborating with other organisations, from start-ups to academic institutions. The wide range of services on offer to corporate partners includes anything from market research, proposition development and product design, to UX/UI design, prototyping and data analytics. For more information, visit http://www.trakglobalgroup.com.

SOURCE InsureMy Inc.

www.insuremy.ca.

Recycling child car seats just got easier

Every year, an estimated quarter of a million child car seats end up in landfills in Ontario alone. The Co-operators is pleased to announce that its advisors are helping provide an alternative for environmentally-minded local residents. Through a partnership with Green Propeller Recycling, the only not-for-profit child car seat recycling facility in Ontario, old child car seats can now be dropped off at local Co-operators advisors’ offices in many Ontario communities to be recycled.

“For decades, the only choice people had to dispose of child car seats that were damaged, expired or which children had outgrown, was to throw it away,” said Graham Lewis, founder and executive director of Green Propeller Recycling. “We are working to change that, and by partnering with local Co-operators offices, it is now easier than ever to be part of the solution and keep your child car seats out of landfills.”

Green Propeller Recycling is a not-for-profit social enterprise that employs people with barriers to employment to manually deconstruct the used child car seats. This allows the materials to be repurposed to make items such as tote bags, backpacks and reusable steel. The additional drop-off locations announced today represent a very significant expansion of its network in Ontario.

“As an organization committed to making a positive social and environmental impact, we’re pleased to support Green Propeller’s dual mission of recycling child car seats while providing job opportunities to people who face barriers to employment,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “People want to do the right thing and recycle their child car seats, and our local advisors are now making it more convenient for them to do that.”

In addition to serving as drop-off locations, The Co-operators has made a financial contribution to Green Propeller Recycling. Participating Co-operators advisors’ offices are located in the following southern Ontario communities:

Ancaster

Georgetown

Orangeville

Bolton

Guelph

Paris

Brampton

Hamilton

Scarborough

Brantford

Kitchener 

Shelburne

Burlington

Listowel

Stoney Creek

Cambridge

Markdale 

Stratford

Dundalk

Milton  

Toronto

Dundas

Mitchell   

Waterdown

Elmira

Mount Forest

Waterloo

Fergus

North York 

Wingham

Those with child car seats to be recycled are asked to register online at www.greenpropellerrecycling.com, which will then direct them to nearby drop-off locations. For all Co-operators clients, the fee of $15 plus tax to offset the cost of labour will be waived.

About The Co-operators:

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

About Green Propeller Recycling:

Green Propeller Recycling incorporated as a not-for-profit / social enterprise in March 2017, quickly establishing itself as the first not-for-profit in Canada to recycle child car safety seats. The need to create an experienced board of directors, who could guide the not-for-profit into a sustainable organization, with a solid vision, mission and value statement over the next three years was crucial.

Green Propeller Recycling used the guiding vision, mission and value statement to align its hiring practices into an operation that values individuals from all aspects of our community. Hiring persons who identify as having a barrier to employment is a key element of the operational structure. Recycling consumer products not currently being recycled is only part of the circular economy, individuals whom have struggled to find sustainable employment, are often overlooked for employment. Green Propeller Recycling refers to this as the value of human capital.

Protecting the environment whilst creating sustainable long-term employment is written into the core of Green Propeller Recycling. Child car seat recycling is a registered program of “1 Less Seat 1 World 2 Keep”. For more information, visit www.greenpropellerrecycling.com.

SOURCE The Co-operators

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