New numbers confirm Alberta drivers facing higher auto insurance costs

By Dean Bennett

THE CANADIAN PRESS

EDMONTON _ New numbers confirm that many Alberta drivers are getting hit with rate hikes, and even some sharp spikes, in their auto insurance.

The Automobile Insurance Rate Board says that 27 insurers operating in Alberta were granted rate hikes in recent months, ranging from less than one per cent to almost 30 per cent for basic coverage on private passenger vehicles.

But the board, in its latest report, stressed that it now expects the changes to work not only for insurers, but also for drivers who were having trouble getting the coverage they needed under the old rate cap.

“Following nearly two years of rate restriction, some Albertans found it difficult to obtain the coverage they required or access to payment plans,” said the board in its fourth quarter report, issued Friday.

“These actions by insurers were directly related to their inability to receive approval for rates commensurate with the risk.

“The (board) expects insurers who received approval for a rate increase to cease practices that limit access to certain coverages for Albertans.”

The board said more than 92 per cent of the insurers offering coverage for private vehicles asked for rate changes.

The move comes after the insurance industry warned repeatedly that sharply rising payouts in recent years had put it in a financial squeeze, and those problems were worsened when a five per cent ceiling on rate hikes was imposed two years ago by the former NDP government.

Last fall, the new United Conservative government lifted that cap, saying it wasn’t working because some Albertans were not able to access certain non-mandatory coverages or payment plans.

Celyeste Power with the Insurance Bureau of Canada said the new hikes are about 10 per cent on average per insurers, but that average will vary widely depending on driver records and how many drivers each firm insures.

She said the increase is not a surprise.

“Insurers actually don’t want to increase rates. They would rather keep their customer happy, give them the best rate possible,” said Power.

“But we have seen increasing claims costs over the past few years that have become quite unsustainable, and that’s when you see premiums follow.”

She said she hopes longer term reform will come from a provincial panel currently reviewing the entire auto insurance system to determine ways to improve it for the industry and drivers.

The panel is to report back in the spring.

Alberta Finance spokeswoman Jerrica Goodwin, in a statement, stressed that the board makes its rate decisions independent of government.

“Today’s release shows many companies with combined rate hikes below five per cent,” said Goodwin.

“Given the numerous options available, we encourage Albertans to shop around for the best rate.

“We will be taking action in the coming months to address long-term affordability in a sustainable manner.”

Jon Carson, the Opposition NDP critic on auto insurance, said the five per cent cap was reasonable, noting some firms in the latest report managed to keep their hikes to five per cent or less.

He urged the government to bring the cap back, adding that the UCP removed it last August with no consultation.

“Albertans are paying hundreds of dollars more in auto insurance alone and that’s very concerning,” said Carson.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2020.

Distracted driving is a trend on the rise

Canada Safety Council

It’s a scene that is far too familiar on roads across Canada: a cell phone sounds an alert, the driver reaches for the phone, and in the short time it takes to read the screen, a collision has occurred.

Distracted driving is a trend on the rise, a dangerous and life-threatening behaviour that must be stopped. To mark this year’s National Safe Driving Week, the Canada Safety Council and the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) share a crucial message: distraction behind the wheel is entirely preventable. Just don’t do it.

The Statistics

Distracted driving statistics are understated because distraction isn’t always easy to prove. In fatal accidents where distraction was a possible factor, there may not be evidence of phone usage or, sadly, a living witness to tell the story. This has resulted in a significant underreporting of the issue – still, the data currently available reveals staggering numbers.

According to Transport Canada, distraction was a contributing factor in 21 per cent of fatal collisions and 27 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury in 2016. Comparatively, those numbers were reported at 16 and 22 per cent, respectively, in 2006.

The Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators (CCMTA) provides further context to these numbers: 1.7 per cent of fatal collisions and 1.9 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury involved electronic communication devices between 2010–14. While more recent statistics are not available, the prevalence of mobile devices in today’s society makes it a reasonable assumption that these numbers, too, are on the rise.

And if you’re fortunate enough to avoid injury or fatality, you’ll still be subject to fines and potentially demerit points depending on your province. Refer to this chart by the Canadian Automobile Association for a detailed breakdown.

To further compound the financial costs, your auto insurance premiums could sharply increase if you’re found to have been operating a vehicle while distracted.

“Insurance is all about risk, and distracted driving is an extremely risky behavior,” said Peter Braid, Chief Executive Officer of IBAC. “That’s why insurance brokers are partnering with the Canada Safety Council to raise awareness of the danger and encourage drivers to keep their eyes on the road. The stakes are high – death, injury, property damage, fines and rising insurance premiums. Whatever the distraction, it’s not worth the risk.”

 

text notification bubble with ellipsis looking like traffic light

The challenge

The challenge in addressing this issue is cognitive dissonance and, where distracted driving is concerned, willingly engaging in behaviours that are known to contribute to the likelihood of collisions. Studies in provinces across Canada have borne out the same result: a majority of drivers understand that distracted driving is dangerous and illegal; yet, the same respondents report using their devices behind the wheel anyway.

“Personal accountability is a major component of society’s role in reducing distracted driving deaths,” said Gareth Jones, president of the Canada Safety Council. “If you’re in the majority of road users who understand the risks, you owe it to your family and to fellow road users to put the phone away and otherwise minimize distractions.  It’s a choice that each of us has completely within our control.  Building a culture of safe driving happens one person and one decision at a time, so let’s choose well.”

 

Other types of distraction

While the topic of distracted driving is often discussed in the context of texting and calling behind the wheel, other forms of distraction exist and can also be harmful. Distracted driving is characterized as any action that removes your focus from the road. This can include eating, adjusting music, heat or GPS, applying makeup and interacting with passengers in the vehicle.

 

Tips to avoid distraction behind the wheel

  • Put your phone on silent or on Do Not Disturb mode. You won’t be tempted by an alert you don’t hear.
  • Even better, use an app or a built-in function that activates a Do Not Disturb feature automatically when connected to your vehicle’s Bluetooth or when increased speed is detected. See the enclosed tip sheet for examples.
  • Out of sight, out of mind – put your phone in a glove compartment, a zipped purse or knapsack, or even the back seat.
  • Make sure to leave enough time in your schedule to eat and groom before getting in the car.
  • Ensure that your temperature, music and GPS are set before you leave.
  • If it’s really that important, pull over.

Above all else, remember that driving is a potentially deadly task that requires your full attention. You wouldn’t take a call while operating a bulldozer; why do the same with a vehicle capable of going at much higher speeds?

Why not file auto claims right at collision facility?

A system where auto body shops filed claims on behalf of their customers could improve life for the repairer, consumer and insurer, Bodyshop Booster CEO Ryan Taylor proposed recently.

It was no different than what already occurred in the dental field, Taylor argued at the Nov. 8, 2019, SCRS IDEAS Collide event at SEMA.

Taylor said shops were in a race to the customer with parties like dealers, OEMs and insurers, calling such parties “influencers.”

The trick was to get repairers “as far upstream as possible,” he said.

Taylor said Bodyshop Booster started noticing that customers “more and more” were contacting body shops before filing a claim. He listed potential reasons like rising deductibles, fear of premiums increasing with a claim or a collision appearing on CARFAX.

The company had a call center in Toronto, Canada, contact a few thousand shops pretending to be a customer seeking an estimate, Taylor said.

For 94 percent of repairers, the first question was “‘Is this going through insurance?’” he said.

When told it was, 83 percent told the customer to call their insurer first, according to Taylor.

“We just relinquished the race,” he said.

READ MORE HERE:

Bodyshop Booster: Why not file auto claims right at collision facility?

 

Choosing an Auto Insurance Carrier in Canada

(Newswire.net — January 8, 2020) — Owning a vehicle can provides you with a wealth of freedom and autonomy, but it also comes with its fair share of responsibility. Indeed, after signing on the dotted line, car owners still have some work to do. Specifically, they must obtain auto insurance.

While car owners may naturally ask, “What is the cheapest car insurance?” a better approach would be to ask which car insurance company provides the best value for your money. This strategy is more likely to result in you obtaining car insurance that covers all your needs while remaining budget friendly.

Mandatory Insurance Coverage

Every Canadian province requires car owners to carry basic auto insurance. Now, specific requirements vary by province, but all policies must include liability coverage and coverage for bodily injury from accidents. Additionally, lending a car to someone who isn’t on your policy could adversely affect your insurance or premium if that person is involved in an accident.

Liability coverage covers losses, injury or death caused to other passengers in an owner’s vehicle or in other vehicles, as well injuries or death suffered by pedestrians. If the amount of a car owner’s liability insurance doesn’t completely cover all injuries, the balance must be paid out of pocket by the car owner.

Benefits for bodily injury cover the cost of a car owner’s own medical expenses and loss of income resulting from a car accident. This coverage is automatic for drivers in Quebec, with premiums included in the cost of their driver’s license registration.

Optional Insurance Coverage

Optional collision insurance covers the repair or replacement costs for an owner’s car that collides with another car or something else. Comprehensive insurance is also optional and covers repair costs to an owner’s car from damage, theft or vandalism.

Additional optional insurance covers costs like rental car allowance, emergency roadside assistance and replacement value coverage for a totaled car. Drivers with good records may be eligible for first-time accident forgiveness, which prevents premium increases after an at-fault accident.

Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Drivers

Did you know motorists who drive for rideshare companies may have difficulty obtaining insurance? Many carriers will raise premiums or cancel insurance policies if they discover policyholders are driving for rideshare companies. To compensate, rideshare companies often provide their own insurance for drivers

Rideshare services were previously outlawed in British Columbia. But under regulations that took effect in September 2019, rideshare drivers in the province must obtain blanket, per-kilometer auto insurance through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. This insurance, which includes mandatory third-party liability and accident benefits, is only effective while the policyholder is driving for a rideshare service.

Money-Saving Tips for Auto Insurance

Even bare-bones mandatory auto insurance can represent a major expense. Some strategies to save money include dropping collision insurance for an older vehicle, accepting a higher deductible, and bundling multiple insurance policies with the same company. Choosing a car with a good safety rating can also translate to lower premiums, and good drivers can often save significant costs by installing telematic devices to monitor their driving habits.

Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Carrier

Choosing an auto insurance carrier depends on multiple factors, including car model, who’s driving the car, whether the car will be used for ridesharing and where the vehicle owner lives. However, savvy drivers know Kanetix offers fast quotes and great rates for the coverage they need. And because Kanetix has years of experience in the industry, car owners can be confident that their coverage will be there when they need it.

Honda Canada Drives CO2 Emissions Reduction with New Awareness Campaign

NEWS PROVIDED BY

Honda Canada Inc.

  • Industry-first environmental awareness campaign informs consumers of vehicle CO2 emission ratings for the company’s fleet
  • New campaign designed to offer product transparency and support informed purchase decisions
  • Honda Canada’s vehicle fleet had the best overall fuel economy in the industry and emitted less CO2 than the average among internal combustion engine manufacturers, according to the latest GHG report issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada for 2017.1

MARKHAM, ON, Jan. 6, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, Honda Canada launched a bold new environmental campaign entitled ‘Driven to Reduce Emissions Since 1948’, designed to help Canadian consumers reduce their personal carbon footprint.  A first of its kind, the awareness campaign posts government-verified vehicle CO2 emission ratings directly on Honda.cafor every model Honda sells in Canada.  Similar to food service providers listing caloric information offering product transparency, vehicle Emission Indicator badges display the grams per kilometre driven emission rating, supporting informed purchase decisions for consumers. The campaign also educates Canadians on Honda’s global philosophy and vision of reducing overall CO2 emissions from its products and all aspects of its business and manufacturing operations.

According to the latest Green House Gas (GHG) report issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada for 2017, Honda Canada’s vehicle fleet had the best overall fuel economy in the industry and emitted less CO2 than the average among internal combustion engine manufacturers.1

“Bringing CO2 emission information to consumers’ attention aligns with our belief that lowering emissions of vehicles on the road in Canada is the best way for us to help combat climate change,” said Dave Gardner, President and CEO of Honda Canada Inc. “Our customers can still choose to drive a Honda vehicle for all of the traditional benefits we bring to the market, such as dependability, quality and reliability, while now being aware of their impact on the environment.”

As society moves towards a more electrified future, the company aims to electrify two-thirds of its global auto sales by 2030. In order to achieve those targets, Honda is taking a measured approach to transitioning from producing mainly internal combustion engines to vehicles equipped with gasoline-hybrid powertrains.

More information on CO2, its relationship to vehicles sold in Canada and what Honda Canada is doing to educate and inform consumers can be found here.

Blue Skies for our Children
At Honda, caring for the environment started with a simple concept:  Blue Skies for our Children. It’s the company’s vision that future generations should experience the joy and freedom of mobility while living in a sustainable society.  Honda is working diligently to reduce all environmental impacts from its products and business activities.

For more information on Honda Canada’s environmental philosophy, please visit HondaCanada.ca.

1 – Environment & Climate Change Canada (published 2019). Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance for the 2017 Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/canadian-environmental-protection-act-registry/greenhouse-gas-emissions-performance-2017.html

About Honda Canada
Honda Canada Inc. (HCI) was founded in 1969 and is the parent company for both Honda and Acura vehicle brands in Canada.  The company has produced more than eight million cars and light trucks since 1986 at its two manufacturing facilities and builds engines at a third manufacturing plant in Alliston, Ontario.  Both manufacturing facilities are extremely flexible and currently build Honda Civic and CR-V models.  Honda Canada has invested more than $4.7 billionin Canada and each year it sources nearly $2.1 billion in goods and services from Canadian suppliers. Honda Canada has sold more than four million Honda and Acura passenger cars and light trucks in Canada. For more information on Honda Canada, please visit www.hondacanada.ca.

SOURCE Honda Canada Inc.

Hyundai & Kia recall 300,000 vehicles in Canada

Collision Repair Magazine

Toronto, Ontario — Hyundai Auto Canada and Kia Canada have released a recall⁠—or, in the automakers’ words, a ‘product improvement campaign’—affecting more than 300,000 vehicles in Canada.

The recall affects the automakers’ natural aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, as well as the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. Both Hyundai and Kia will perform an engine control module update on the affected vehicles to assure its ability to detect potential problems prior to engine failure. Not only could a failed engine cost thousands of dollars to repair, but it causes a sudden loss of power⁠—introducing huge risks to safety.

Hyundai Canada is recalling 275,533 cars and SUVS, including the 2019 Santa Fe; the 2019 Veloster; all Sante Fe Sport models from 2013 through 2018; 2014, 2015 and 2019 Tuscon models; and all Hyundai Sonata models from 2011 through 2019.

Kia Canada is recalling 26,082 cars and SUVs, including the 2019 and 2020 Sportage models, the 2019 Optima and the 2019 Sorrento.

Hyundai Canada has said owners of Santa Fe Sport, Sonata and Tuscon vehicles who received a similar recall fix in March 2019⁠—which involved 255,000 vehicles⁠—do not require the new update.

Hyundai owners can visit www.hyundaiengineinfo.ca for more information.

Kia Canada owners can click here for more information.

Source: Collision Repair Magazine

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