Higher prices for gas, auto insurance and mortgage payments fuelled inflation in Canada

The excerpted article was written by Wolf Depner | Victoria News

Higher gasoline prices, car insurance payments and mortgage rates were the biggest drivers of inflation during the last 12 months.

According to Statistics Canada, national inflation rose 2.4 per cent in January 2020 compared to January 2019. Provincially, British Columbians saw inflation rise 2.3 per cent during the same period, as one of four provinces with inflation rates below the national rate. Alberta and Prince Edward Island with spikes of three per cent each led the provinces with rates above the national figure.

Higher gasoline prices were the biggest contributor to inflation, as gas prices were 11.2 per cent higher in January 2020 than in January 2019, when the world experienced excessive supply. Geo-strategic events, however, pushed oil prices up. This development is far from abstract for local drivers, as Greater Victoria recorded the highest gas prices in all of Canada Tuesday.

Insurance premiums for passenger vehicles rose 8.4 per cent in January 2020 compared to the same period last year, while mortgage payments rose 5.3 per cent. Fresh vegetables, a traditional source of inflation during the winter months, rose five per cent in price, largely because of severe weather in the United States impacting crops.

On the other end of the spectrum, phone services, traveller accommodation, and tutition fees dropped by 7.1, 4.8 and 3.6 per cent per cent.

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Driving has gotten more expensive in Alberta: Insurance, fuel & fee increases

Matthew Black CTV News Edmonton

EDMONTON — Albertans are paying more to drive their vehicles compared to a year ago, including increases in the cost of insurance, fuel, and licensing and registration fees, according to newly released StatsCan numbers.

StatsCan says the cost of passenger vehicle insurance premiums rose by 7.6 per cent last month, the largest monthly increase since November 2002.

The numbers also show premiums in Alberta have increased by 17.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis.
“A significant share of private passenger vehicle insurers in this province submitted applications to increase rates following the removal of a rate cap,” reads the report.

Fuel prices rose in Alberta as well last month, up 0.9 per cent from December 2019, according to the report. Alberta gas prices were up 6.6 per cent over the same month last year.
The federal carbon tax was introduced in Alberta on Jan. 1, 2020.The report also details a 14.4 per cent increase in other vehicle operating expenses in Alberta compared to a year ago.

“This was due, in part, to increases in service fees, including fees for drivers’ licences and passenger vehicle registration, introduced in the 2019-2020 provincial budget,” reads the report.
The 2019 Alberta budget raised motor vehicle registration fees by $9.20, up to $93.65.

In reponse, the province attributed rising gas prices as likely being due to the Jan. 1 roll out of the federal carbon tax, a levy Alberta continues to fight in court.
“We are ensuring that key services Albertans need are properly funded and more accurately reflect the costs of delivering them, including achieving modernizations such as online service delivery, which Albertans are asking for,” a government spokesperson wrote in an email to CTV News.

In late August, the province scrapped a five per cent cap on auto insurance rate increases implemented by the prior New Democrat government.
In December, Finance Minister Travis Toews introduced a new committee to advise on potential reforms to the province’s insurance system.
“This issue is such a significant issue that touches every Albertan,” Toews said. “To assemble a very credible, experienced committee like this, I believe we will be best-informed to make decisions around automobile insurance.”

Today, the Opposition NDP called the increases “very concerning” and called on the government to immediately reinstate the five per cent cap.
“In my office we have heard many, many stories from my constituents and Albertans … worried about people who are unable to afford these increased costs,” said New Democrat MLA Jon Carson.

The data was included in StatsCan’s monthly Consumer Price Index report which tracks changes in the average price for commonly purchased goods like groceries and haircuts.
Across Canada, the cost of gasoline and insurance premiums combined to result in a nearly 20 per cent increase in the CPI.

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Peel Mutual Insurance First in Canada to Launch Hi Marley

Peel Mutual Insurance looks to drive customer centric experience with Hi Marley’s AI-based texting platform built specifically for insurance.

BOSTON, Feb. 18, 2020 /CNW/ — Peel Mutual, one of the largest members of the Ontario Mutuals, is also committed to being the best mutual insurer in Ontario. As a forward-thinking organization that continually looks to innovative, Peel Mutual has launched Hi Marley to continue to deliver an outstanding customer experience built on trust.

Peel Mutual is leveraging Hi Marley to assist in their auto, home and business claims teams. Their aim to be the first insurance carrier offering Hi Marley in Canada is differentiating them by committing dedication to their insureds. They seek to provide a seamless and simple texting solution for their policyholders and offer modern day technology advancements for their claims adjusters.

Irene Bianchi, CEO for Peel Mutual, says, “We are so excited to start the new year off with a better communication commitment to our policyholders. We strive to leverage cutting edge technology in a simple way that today’s customers just expect.”

Dan Heap, VP of Claims, adds, “We are proud to offer not just a texting solution for our insureds, but also a more simple and efficient way for our team to handle claims.”

The Hi Marley platform addresses a significant industry issue of phone tag by connecting carriers and customers through two-way texting. They can communicate and exchange pictures and document, while the insurance-specific AI enables the process. Carriers can start with zero IT effort, delight customers with exceptional service and resolve claims faster. After successful results with US insurers, Hi Marley is now available in Canada.

Mitesh Suchak, COO of Hi Marley, said, “We are thrilled to be working with Peel Mutual and their innovative team. It is very exciting to support them as the first carrier to offer Hi Marley in the Canadian marketplace.”

About Hi Marley, Inc.

Hi Marley is a software provider offering the first AI-enabled conversation platform specifically designed for the insurance industry.  Hi Marley enables insurance carriers to easily and quickly communicate with customers and other partners in the insurance ecosystem so they can deliver an optimal customer experience. The platform has flexible APIs and requires zero integration to get started. Learn more at  www.himarley.com.

About Peel Mutual Insurance

Peel Mutual has been providing quality insurance products and serving Ontario residents since 1876. As one of the largest members of the Ontario Mutuals, we are owned and directed by our policyholders and represent one of the strongest, most secure financial networks in the world. We offer a complete line of residential, automobile, farm and commercial insurance products tailored to protect you and your family. Learn more at www.peelmutual.com.

SOURCE Hi Marley, Inc.

Related Links

https://himarley.com

Drivers could see a jump in their auto insurance, despite the Ford Government promising a reduction

Ontario auto insurance taking a jump

By Tim Herd | KitchenerToday

Ontario has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. The province is second to British Columbia, and now rates are set to climb even higher. Drivers could face up to an 11 per cent increase.

Rob Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer, Deutschmann Law was on the Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS on Thursday.

He said it’s not the same across the board. “1.6 per cent for the most part, but there are a couple of companies that had to have excessively higher rates.”

The increase in rates has started a debate between public and private insurance. BC already has public auto insurance. Deutschmann said Ontario should not follow suit because BC is seeing significant cuts, and has the most expensive auto insurance in the country.

Deutschmann added one of the issues with this increase is that the Insurance Board of Canada (IBC) and the industry have most of the control, and keeps the Ontario government out of the loop.

In Ontario, accidents and death rates are low and benefits continue to get slashed. “Since 2010 we’ve had significant cuts to accident benefits in Ontario,” says Deutschmann. A decade later he says roughly 70-80 per cent of auto accident victims in Ontario only have access to $3,500 in accident benefits.

Source: KitchenerToday

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