BC Residents Are Less Worried Than The Rest of Canada About Their Insurance

VANCOUVER, July 15, 2019 /CNW/ – British Columbians are very knowledgeable when it comes to car insurance, but they still have concerns that keep them up at night. According to a national survey commissioned by belairdirect, 34% of British Columbians are concerned with the price of their car insurance policy – more than any other region in Canada. British Columbians who have car insurance are also most concerned with understanding their policy and what they are covered for (22%), if their policy is still in effect if they lend their car to someone (20%), and if they are covered if their car is stolen (18%).

“Car insurance in British Columbia is unique, which means British Columbians understand what they want from their car insurance,” said Jeremy Green, Vice President, Sales & Operations Western Canada, belairdirect. “British Columbian drivers consider understanding insurance to be tedious and want premiums that actually reflect their driving habits and fit their needs.  belairdirect offers a new, personalized way to look at optional insurance, and our goal is to make it as simple as possible.”

Options beyond mandatory insurance
The survey found a quarter (25%) of British Columbians with car insurance know the difference between the mandatory public auto coverage, and the type of optional insurance offered, including by belairdirect.

“belairdirect offers British Columbians personalized, optional car insurance choices including collision, liability and special discounts,” said Green. “Our innovative automerit program can also reward good driving behaviour with a personalized discount of up to 25% on the optional auto insurance for BC residents.”

Coming out on top
British Columbians are savvy when it comes to insurance, but they still want more. The survey found British Columbians with auto and/or home insurance are more likely than other regions of Canada to:

  • Know car insurance varies by province (93% of respondents in BC vs. 79% rest of Canada).
  • Have home insurance for peace of mind (67% of respondents in BC vs. 63% rest of Canada).
  • Find it difficult to understand their home insurance policy (61% of respondents in BC vs. 52% rest of Canada).
  • Have car insurance to follow the law (67% of respondents in BC vs. 61% rest of Canada).
  • Strongly agree that they feel like they pay too much for their home insurance (30% of respondents in BC vs. 24% rest of Canada) and car insurance (61% of respondents in BC vs. 38% rest of Canada).

“Insurance is too important to be complicated and we are committed to simplifying that experience and help educate consumers. In fact, our licensed insurance agents will work with customers in British Columbia any day to ensure they have the optional coverage they should have to meet their needs, including the benefits of bundling both home and auto insurance for even more savings,” said Green.

About belairdirect
Founded in Quebec in 1955, belairdirect provides car and home insurance products directly to consumers. It currently employs more than 1,600 people. The company offers a simple but complete solution, allowing customers to communicate with an agent by phone, online or in person through its network of branches. belairdirect was the first property and casualty insurer in North America to sell car insurance products online (www.belairdirect.com), attesting to the company’s innovative character. belairdirect is a subsidiary of Intact Financial Corporation, the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada and a leading provider of specialty insurance in North America (TSX : IFCwww.intactfc.com). belairdirect is a proud partner of Breakfast Club of Canada.

SOURCE belairdirect

Why today’s safer cars aren’t driving down insurance costs yet

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Hail damage the worst in Alberta compared to all other Canadian provinces: AMA

The excerpted article was written b

Experts warn to brace for summer storms in Alberta, which sees more insured losses than all the other provinces combined.

AMA insurance experts have compiled numbers from insurance providers across the province and said 51 percent of all storm-related damage in Canada since 2010 has occurred in Alberta.

Vishnu Singh with AMA said people need to protect their vehicles and their property when a storm hits.

“You want to make sure you go underground or find a parkade,” Singh said. “The kinds of expenses to a vehicle is, on average, $5,000 for a hail claim for vehicles.”

The growing cost of damages is leaving a big dent in the bottom line for car dealerships. For many, it was no longer feasible to leave their inventory so vulnerable. Many have invested in protective shields.

T&T Honda in Calgary’s northeast spent just over $1 million to install six tents.

A car lot in Calgary has invested $500,000 for three tents to act as protective shields from hail.

The dealership’s general manager, Navroz Jessani, said they were left with no choice.

“We had to do something to mitigate that risk as well as keep insured,” Jessani said. “We got hit with a massive hailstorm in August 2012, and there was a significant amount of damage and getting insurance after that point became more and more difficult for us.

AMA released more statistics that reveal 66 percent of Canada’s major hail storms happen in Alberta — the most severe to date was in August 2010, causing nearly $400 million in damages.

Ways to prevent summer storm damage include parking your vehicle in a garage or under a covered structure and tying down lawn furniture. The most important thing, according to the AMA, is to know when severe weather is on the way, advising people to get weather alerts on their phones.

Edited for ILSTV

Province ordered agreement involving brokers in online auto insurance at expected cost of $23M

A month after saying brokers shouldn’t be involved in providing ‘unnecessary service,’ MPI changed tune

Ian Froese · CBC News

The board of Manitoba Public Insurance will turn over all of its online services to insurance brokers in a deal it didn’t want, but felt compelled to take because of the insistence of the provincial government, internal documents show.

A package of documents, emails and presentations show Tory-appointed board members were squeamish about an agreement with insurance brokers that MPI estimated will cost Manitobans an extra $23 million over five years.

The Crown insurer wanted to move some of its simpler transactions — like renewing driver’s licences — online. The move, MPI thought, would appease customers and save cash, since it felt insurance brokers weren’t necessary in those transactions.

But the corporation and its board members say the government intervened to ensure brokers are involved in every transaction going forward.

Those MPI emails do not match statements from Crown Services Minister Colleen Mayer, who has said repeatedly the government only asked the board of MPI and the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba (IBAM) to work together and did not prescribe any specific action.

The decision was government’s: MPI

The internal documents, obtained by the Opposition NDP through freedom of information requests, show MPI will transfer some of its services online in five years, while ensuring that brokers will be part of the move.

The expected compensation to brokers as part of that move to online services will increase by $23 million over five years, above the $84.5 million they already receive. Autopac rates will rise by 0.4 per cent, a memo said.

In an email on March 11, 2019, describing the change, MPI president and CEO Ben Graham wrote “the [government] has made the decision.”

The documents also reveal MPI extended the current compensation agreement with brokers until Feb. 28, 2021, “on the advice of government,” a letter written last November by former MPI chief administrative officer Ward Keith reads.

A month earlier, Graham wrote to a government official that “MPI does not believe it is appropriate or reasonable to increase broker funding to compensate for unnecessary services currently being provided that do not require the professional expertise of a broker.”

A clash between the board and brokers became public in March when the Winnipeg Free Press reported the province was lobbying on behalf of the insurance agents, which prompted MPI’s board to seek a legal opinion to determine its rights.

The various emails appear to add credence to the claim the province had a hand in the decision — but the minister responsible for Crown services says the province’s involvement doesn’t violate legislation intended to reduce government interference since it never got in the way.

The Pallister government introduced legislation in 2017 that compels the province to inform the public within 30 days of issuing a directive to the Crown corporation.

In this case, Mayer maintains the government had no say in MPI’s decisions, even though internal emails from MPI staff say they were pressured.

“There was no official directive from Crown Services, the department has been involved in discussions with both organizations on how to deliver services most effectively for Manitoba consumers,” Mayer said in an emailed statement.

“Both MPI and [the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba] are encouraged to work together to find a way to provide Manitobans with the services that meet their needs, while understanding the value of professional insurance advice provided by brokers.”

MPI exposed to ‘inconsistent directives’

In a letter to Mayer on Nov. 16, 2018, MPI’s then-board chair Brent VanKoughnet expressed frustration with signing a two-year extension with the insurance agents.

“Without a significant change in [the negotiating] process we are destined to relive the many communication challenges, misunderstandings and unmet expectations that regrettably erode trust, damage reputations, stifle innovation, and limit progress.”

A month earlier, Graham wrote to Grant Doak, deputy minister of Crown services at that point, saying his words were being manipulated by brokers “aimed at getting their lofty and unquantified financial objectives adhered to by government.”

VanKoughnet responded later that night that Graham’s address had a “little more edge” than he’d prefer, “but I understand the frustration and agree that we can’t just keep exposing ourselves to inconsistent directives.”

VanKoughnet was demoted as chair in February, but remained on the board until May. He was replaced by Michael Sullivan, a dentist from Portage la Prairie, Man., the same city in which Premier Brian Pallister previously made his living in the insurance business.

The plan to transition all online services to brokerage oversight was approved less than a month later, an email indicates.

Manitoba Public Insurance has already spent $2.4 million as it evaluates the move to online service delivery.

The corporation estimated if brokers had been left out of the online services, the impact to the agents would be minimal, since online adoption of the simplest transactions would be low. Based on an estimated 20 per cent adoption rate, broker compensation would drop $40,000 — 0.12 per cent of total compensation.

Should the Crown have eliminated insurance broker compensation outright, MPI would save $473 million, the corporation’s documents say.

“Customers’ needs are the driving factor in establishing an online service delivery strategy including a broker network that is invaluable in being a key distribution channel for MPI products and services,” the Crown corporation said in an email Tuesday.

“We recognize this is a big change and MPI and IBAM will work in collaboration regarding online services and how they meet the changing needs of Manitobans.”

CBC News

N.L. moves a step closer to scrapping tax on auto insurance

Rebates to be offered to anyone who renewed their insurance after April 15

CBC News 

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has announced the legislative changes necessary to eliminate the province’s tax on automobile insurance.

Finance Minister Tom Osborne introduced the amendment to the Revenue Administration Act on Tuesday in the House of Assembly.

The amendment has yet to be passed, but Osborne said he expects that will happen hopefully by the end of June.

When passed, that means an end to the 13 per cent tax on auto insurance renewal statements.

“At that particular point the insurance companies can do what they need to do to act as expeditiously as possible in rebating their customers,” Osborne said.

“And once we find out what that dollar figure is from the insurance companies, we’ll rebate the insurance companies.”

Rebate retroactive to April 15

Anyone who paid for their renewal between the amendment’s passing and April 15, the day the Liberal government first announced the end of the tax, will be eligible for the rebate.

However, anyone who renewed their insurance before mid-April won’t see a change in their insurance until their next renewal date.

Osborne said the exact amount that the province will have to pay insurance companies for the rebates is unknown, and will rely on when the amendment passes.

“That’s a moving target, the time that rebates start or that this becomes official, because the moment it becomes official and it’s law, insurance companies can stop charging the tax,” Osborne said.

“But every day there are further renewals … so we haven’t calculated that, but it’s about $57 million on an annual basis that the reduction in automobile sales tax will be for the province.”

Osborne said getting the changes to the bill through will mean there’s more time for all members in the House of Assembly to debate the Liberal budget.

“It takes pressure off of any timelines. We’ve agreed to provide whatever time is necessary to the members of the opposition and the third party and independent members to debate the budget as long as they wish, to whatever extent they wish,” Osborne said.

“This removes any time barriers. This interim supply measure will allow a debate to continue on into July if necessary.”

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