China’s largest ride-hailing firm has launched a research facility in Toronto, its second in North America.

Didi Chuxing says it officially launched DiDi Labs, which follows the establishment of a lab in Mountain View, Calif. in March 2017.

The California facility has worked on product development and safety technology for DiDi’s international operations in Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and Greater China.

The new DiDi Labs in Toronto will focus on research into intelligent driving and artificial intelligence.

It will be led by Jun Yu, who the company describes as a pioneer of China’s consumer app industry and who has been responsible for creating many of China’s leading internet products.

The company, which acquired Uber China, offers app-based transportation options for 550 million users, including taxi, bus, bike-sharing, car-sharing and foot delivery. More than 31 million driver use its platform.

Study reveals older B.C. drivers paying through the nose to subsidize younger motorists

Alan Campbell | Richmond News

Hardly a day goes by without hearing someone complain about paying more for auto insurance in B.C. than most places in Canada and, indeed, the western world.

According to a study released Thursday by the Fraser Institute – an “independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank” – drivers in the province pay higher auto insurance rates, in part, because ICBC doesn’t fully account for age when setting rates.

As such, according to the study, it uses driver premiums to pay for non-insurance related costs.

In August, in a bid to temper the disparity, the B.C. government announced changes to lower insurance costs for good drivers by up to $100 and raise costs for drivers with poor records.

“The government’s recent changes are welcome, but they don’t go far enough to fix our fundamentally flawed system that punishes safer drivers with higher rates to subsidize riskier drivers,” said John Chant, Fraser Institute senior fellow, professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University and author of Understanding Why Basic Auto Insurance Rates in BC Are So High.

The study found that because ICBC — the only provider of mandatory basic insurance coverage in the province — sets rates without regard for age or gender, young drivers (between the ages of 16 and 24) pay more than $800 less than they would if rates reflected estimated accident experience.

In fact, all drivers under the age of 35 pay less than they otherwise would as a result.

Conversely, drivers over the age of 35 — particularly drivers between 45 and 64 — pay hundreds more in higher premiums than if rates reflected estimated accident experience.

In fact, drivers between 55 and 64 pay $228 more per year due to ICBC’s rate structure.

And, according to the study, it’s not just the rate structure that leads to high insurance costs.

ICBC also administers non-insurance related activities including driver testing, driver and vehicle licensing and fine collection, which are paid for by insurance premiums and add an estimated $50 to every driver’s insurance policy per year.

“It’s important that B.C. drivers understand why basic auto insurance is so expensive in this province as reforms are proposed and introduced,” added Chant.

The Richmond News reached out to ICBC for comment. No reply was received at the time of publication.

IBC Supports Ontario Government’s Review of Auto Insurance Rate Regulation

In today’s Fall Economic Statement, the Ontario government committed to cut red tape in the auto insurance system to benefit consumers.

“We congratulate the government on working to create the type of insurance system that is long overdue,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “Consumers are looking for more common-sense innovations such as usage-based insurance and the ability to show electronic copies of their insurance documents.   Insurers applaud the objective of the Ontario government to modernize the rate regulation process.”

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario will review and examine how other jurisdictions set insurance rates and to identify greater efficiencies and to enable more competition in the province’s auto insurance system.

Also encouraging in today’s Fall Economic Statement was the Ontario government’s observation that recent innovations in the insurance sector require an equally innovative response from regulators. The government is committed to creating a new regulatory framework that supports the modernization of the auto insurance sector as well as providing the new regulator innovative insurance products with the tools it needs to deter fraud.

“Consumers today demand flexibility and ease of use of products and services,” added Donaldson. “The electronic availability of insurance documents is the logical next step. Today’s announcement will improve the consumer experience.”

Home, auto and business insurers look forward to continuing to work with the government to make the auto insurance system more affordable and stable for all drivers in Ontario.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @IBC_Ontarioand like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Bad B.C. drivers to face increased penalties; fines to jump 20 per cent annually

VICTORIA _ Bad drivers in British Columbia have less than 24 hours to improve their habits or face increased penalties for speeding, impaired or distracted driving and other offences.

Attorney General David Eby says in a release that fines applied under the driver risk premium and driver penalty point premium will jump 20 per cent effective Nov. 1, and a further 20 per cent in November 2019.

The driver risk premium is assessed for behaviour such as excessive speeding or two or more distracted driving violations, while the penalty point premium applies to drivers who collect four or more points from traffic violations in a single year.

Both penalties are on top of any fines or other consequences linked to the initial infraction and must be paid before vehicle insurance or a driver’s licence can be renewed.

The Attorney General’s Ministry says driver point premiums currently range from $175 for four points to $24,000 for 50 or more, but the increase will raise those amounts to $210 for four points and $28,800 for 50 or more.

Eby also says penalty premiums will keep pace with hikes in basic insurance offered by the Insurance Corporation of B.C., meaning the public insurer expects to collect $26 million in penalties next year, $32 million in 2020 and $36 million by 2021.

“Reckless drivers put others at risk, and they’re contributing to the rise in crashes we’re seeing on our roads,” Eby said in the release.

He also said higher penalties will hold drivers accountable if they engage in dangerous behaviour while behind the wheel.

The insurance industry will be monitoring any effects on their costs very closely in the coming year.

Read more

Auto Insurance Rates Rise in Ontario, Alberta and Atlantic Canada

Today, LowestRates.ca, an online recommendation site for personal finance products like insurance, mortgages, loans and credit cards, released its Q3 2018 Auto Insurance Price Index, which uses proprietary data to track the average cost of car insurance in Canada on a quarterly basis.

The report found that the price of auto insurance has been trending upward in all three markets surveyed, with increases of 3.57% in Ontario, 0.24% in Alberta and 1.79% in Atlantic Canada versus the prior quarter. When compared with this time last year, Ontario saw the steepest rate increase at 10.71% and Alberta saw an annual increase of 6.70%. Annual data for Atlantic Canada is not yet available.

Breakdown by sex:

Ontario

  • Men are paying 9.67% more than in Q3 2017
  • Women are paying 12.21% more than in Q3 2017

Alberta

  • Men are paying 7.36% more than in Q3 2017
  • Women are paying 5.56% more than in Q3 2017

Atlantic Canada

  • Men are paying 1.97% more than in Q2 2018
  • Women are paying 1.39% more than in Q2 2018

As auto insurance rates continue to rise, Canada has also become the first G20 country to legalize recreational cannabis. LowestRates.ca found that a staggering 91% of Canadians do not know how the legalization of cannabis will affect their ratesMillennials (94%) are the least certain of the potential impact. A study released in October by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives some insight into what could happen: it found that U.S. states that legalized cannabis have accident rates that are 5.2% higher than neighbouring states. If legalization leads to an increase in impaired driving and more accidents, it’s likely that rates will see an increase in Canada, as well.

“It’s a time of unknowns in the Canadian insurance industry,” said Justin Thouin, co-founder and CEO of LowestRates.ca. “The potential effects of cannabis legalization have shown Canadians the importance of educating themselves on not just insurance, but personal finance as a whole. That’s exactly what the Auto Insurance Price Index aims to do—give Canadians another tool that can equip them with the information they need in order to make smarter financial decisions.”

How does the Auto Insurance Price Index Report work?

The index works by looking at the lowest auto insurance rates available on LowestRates.ca each quarter, getting an average and then comparing it to past quarters. A benchmark quarter, in this case Q1 2018, is used to create a baseline (a reading of 100) for the index. Each point on the index above or below 100 represents a roughly 1% change in prices. For instance, a 105 index reading would mean the price has increased by 5% since Q1 2018.

Each market has seen the following increases on LowestRates.ca’s Auto Insurance Price Index:

  • Ontario increased from 100 on the index at the end of Q1 2018 to 107 at the end of Q3 2018
  • Alberta increased from 100 on the index at the end of Q1 2018 to 103 at the end of Q3 2018
  • Atlantic Canada increased from 100 on the index at the end of Q1 2018 to 103 at the end of Q3 2018

This index also shows the value of comparing auto insurance. While the average quoted price on LowestRates.ca rose 0.67% in the second quarter, that was less than the amount insurers were approved to raise rates. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which regulates auto insurance in the province, approved insurance providers for an average 2.06% rate increase in Q3.

Why do rates increase?

Insurance rate increases are directly related to costs incurred by providers. For instance, if the number of claims rises in a given quarter for one insurer, they’ll increase their premiums, even if other insurers lower their own prices. There are several trends right now that may contribute to these increases, including a higher number of distracted driving accidents, the rising cost of new vehicle repairs, and fraud. The LowestRates.ca Auto Insurance Price Index tracks the percentage change in the average car insurance quote received by individual drivers insuring only one vehicle in either OntarioAlberta or Atlantic Canada.

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 offer Canadians 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

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