Car crash injury claims aren’t increasing, insurance can handle costs

Car crash injury claims aren’t increasing, insurance can handle costs

LAUREN BOOTHBY

Edmonton Journal

An Alberta group advocating for fair auto insurance is out with a new report challenging the reasoning behind scrapping a rate cap that will now see some drivers paying nearly 30 per cent more for auto insurance this year.

Insurers have blamed climbing injury payouts for creating a “crisis” in the insurance industry, with companies claiming they were paying out more than they were bringing in through premiums. But an analysis by an actuary hired by Fair Alberta Injury Regulations found injury payouts have stabilized in the last few years and even started to dip in 2019.

“They’re not skyrocketing. They’re not significantly increasing from one year to the next. That’s been the case for (three) years now,” consulting actuary Craig Allen told Postmedia.

He acknowledges injury claims did climb between 2011 and 2016, but they have levelled out since then.

“I agree there has been a period of growth, but my interpretation is that period of growth has ended,” Allen said.

He also found that the previous rate cap was high enough to cover injury claims in the last few years, because the Automobile Insurance Rate Board’s (AIRB) allowed rate hikes accounted for claims increasing at a faster pace than what resulted.

“Allowable rate levels since late 2017 … provide more than adequate amounts for the estimated bodily injury claims costs that have subsequently emerged. For insurers that have kept up to date with their rate changes, further rate increases for bodily injury coverage appear to be unnecessary at present and for a period into the future,” Allen wrote in the report.

He said insurance companies and the AIRB overestimated the severity of injury claims, and so that left room to cover any higher costs the company faced.

Fair Alberta is skeptical of claims the industry is overburdened by claims costs, and the reason behind the provincial government’s decision to scrap the rate cap

“We don’t understand where the premier got the idea that personal injury claims are escalating out of control — that is not what this data shows,” he told Postmedia.

“There is not a crisis going on with bodily injury claims costs, and there is no need to take money away, or compensation away, from injured, innocent people to compensate for an industry that is saying that there is a problem.”

The group also says it expects insurers are claiming hardship ahead of lobbying for changes to consumer protection laws around injury compensation.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) takes issue with the report’s claims bodily injury claims have stabilized.

“Data from the independent rate regulator’s actuary clearly shows a steep increase in bodily injury claims since 2012. It’s clear that the auto insurance system no longer works for Alberta’s three million drivers: it’s expensive and offers little choice. We hope that all groups, regardless of what stake they have in the situation, will come together and work with the government-appointed expert committee on auto insurance to work on fixes that are in the best interest of drivers,” Celeste Power, IBC’s vice president said in an email statement.

When reached for comment, the AIRB only pointed to a panel reviewing insurance in the province, and did not comment further on the report.

“The government is reviewing the current automobile insurance system to ensure automobile insurance is sustainable and available for all Albertans. The AIRB looks forward to the expert advisory committee’s report and recommendations,” reads a statement from the AIRB.

Jerrica Goodwin, spokesperson for the provincial treasury board and finance, said in an email statement the AIRB is in the best position to comment on its methodology.

“Our government is addressing the issues in the automobile insurance industry that the previous government wasn’t willing to. We have appointed an advisory committee to review the system and are committed to an automobile insurance system that is fair, affordable and accessible for Albertans,” she wrote.

The reality is “insurers are not going to write business that is unprofitable. It’s not their function,” Muir-Wood said.

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DAS and Wawanesa partner to protect commercial customers with Legal Expense Insurance

Toronto, ON – DAS Legal Protection Inc. (“DAS”) is proud to announce a new partnership with The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company (“Wawanesa”), which protects its commercial policyholders when they encounter unexpected legal events.

“At DAS, we focus on providing Canadian small businesses with the help and assistance they need to ensure their legal risks are well managed. Our new partnership with Wawanesa, Canada’s largest P&C mutual insurer with a rich history and reputation, well advances this goal,” said Rissa Revin, CEO at DAS.

This partnership with DAS will make Legal Expense Insurance available to Wawanesa’s suite of Commercial Property & Casualty products.

“Bringing our two companies together strengthens our commitment to helping our customers get the right protection for their businesses. Wawanesa’s recognition of Legal Expense Insurance as a key differentiator provides their customers with another product innovation to extend the coverage provided by their commercial insurance,” said Alex Manning, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at DAS.

The comprehensive coverage is launching in Q1 2020 for new Wawanesa commercial policyholders, and Q2 2020 for existing Wawanesa commercial policyholders.

“We are delighted to partner with DAS and offer our commercial customers this important new protection,” said Tracy Riley, Wawanesa Vice President of Business Transformation. “Among its many benefits, Legal Expense Insurance can save customers money on their legal costs and give them a place to turn when they have legal questions. For our valued broker partners, this product offering provides yet another reason to recommend Wawanesa.”

Legal Expense Insurance is an essential piece of any business’ commercial insurance portfolio, offering policyholders financial protection against legal expenses and empowering them with general legal assistance for any legal matter. Covered insured events include contract disputes, employment disputes, tax audits, and many other common legal events a business owner can experience.

Legal expense insurance itself is rooted in a longstanding 100-year old history. It can be traced back to Le Mans, France in 1917, when the first company named D.A.S. (“Defense Automobile et Sportive”) offering legal expense insurance coverage opened its doors.

Interested in the history? Watch this video to hear the story behind it all.

About DAS Legal Protection Inc.

DAS Legal Protection Inc. (DAS) is the Canadian market leader and Managing General Agent (MGA) specializing exclusively in Legal Expense Insurance. Working with brokers and corporate partners, we create access to justice solutions so that Canadian individuals, families, and business owners can protect themselves from legal expenses, be empowered to pursue or defend their legal rights, and have unlimited access to legal resources. DAS Legal Expense Insurance policies are underwritten by Temple Insurance Company, and both companies are members of Munich Re (Group). To learn more, please visit www.das.ca.

About Wawanesa

The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1896, is the largest Canadian Property and Casualty Mutual insurer with $3 billion in annual revenue and assets of more than $9 billion. Wawanesa Mutual, with executive offices in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa General, which offers property and casualty insurance in California and Oregon; Wawanesa Life, which provides life insurance products and services throughout Canada; and Western Financial Group, which distributes personal and business insurance across Western Canada. With over 5,000 employees, Wawanesa proudly serves over two million policyholders in Canada and the United States. Wawanesa actively gives back to organizations that strengthen communities where it operates, donating well above internationally recognized benchmarks for excellence in corporate philanthropy. Learn more at https://www.wawanesa.com/canada/.

His coverage officially lapsed on April 1. He was diagnosed with cancer on May 23.

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IMS Brings Carrot UBI Platform to North American Insurers

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and Boston, MA, Jan. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IMS, a subsidiary of Trak Global Group (TGG), one of the world’s top three providers of connected car data solutions to insurers, mobility operators and governments, is pleased to announce the availability in North America of the (usage-based insurance) UBI platform on which the award-winning Carrot Insurance (Carrot) program is built.

Using this platform, IMS will enable U.S. and Canadian insurers to rapidly scale next-generation UBI programs that go beyond the common approach of offering motorists discounts in exchange for sharing limited driving data. Partners will also have full access to eight years of in-market experience, insights, and validated learnings in driver scoring (informed by real-world claims data), engagement, and reward, as well as the effective use of telematics data within claims.

The highly configurable, modular platform is compatible with telematics data across all device types, from plug-in hardware to mobile apps and embedded telemetry within vehicles. In addition to underpinning Carrot, the platform has been adopted by numerous insurers, such as RSA, Zurich, and Aviva, and auto manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Fiat.

IMS is led in North America by insurance telematics pioneer, Nino Tarantino, who joined the company from Octo Telematics North America shortly after it was acquired by UK-based TGG in December 2018.

“The auto insurance market in North America is very competitive, and UBI has provided an opportunity for insurers to differentiate, while enabling improved risk selection,” said Nino Tarantino, CEO of IMS (Americas). “Insurers must now begin to focus on using telematics data to effect positive behavior change, drive down accident frequency, improve loss ratios and generate ROI from their programs. By giving our partners access to the full breadth of our insights harvested from Carrot and providing them the same tools that helped deliver an accident frequency reduction of over 40% in other geographical markets, we believe it is possible for our insurer partners to see double-digit improvements to their combined operating ratios. No other solution provider in the market has access to the leverage that IMS’s Carrot experience provides.”

In addition to the engagement and reward system at the heart of the platform, which has traditionally delivered increased customer interaction and driver safety – with more than half of policyholders checking driving feedback daily – North American insurers can also benefit from IMS’s expertise using telematics data to improve the claims process. The tools and expertise embodied within IMS’s Claims as a Service (CaaS) offering have already seen global composite insurers, like Zurich, achieve as much as a 10-point improvement in combined operating ratio (COR) through more efficient claims resolution.

“UBI provides insurers with more detailed information about their customers than ever before and will allow for rating systems to accurately reflect customers’ driving ability over time while providing a positive customer experience through increased engagement and reward programs,” said Greg Donaldson, senior analyst at Aite Group. “The race for effective UBI offerings in North America has started and insurers ignoring this trend stand to fall behind as the competition forges ahead. Insurers will need to find experienced partners to help them develop and integrate the right plan to ensure success.”

For U.S. and Canadian-based insurers seeking additional detail, please contact IMS at:  https://www.intellimec.com/contact-us

 

N.S. declined to seize insurance money granted to mentally ill man who killed wife

Justice Department notes law only allows forfeiture to the province, not third parties

The excerpted article was written by Aly Thomson · CBC News

Nova Scotia’s Justice Department twice told the province’s Supreme Court it would not apply to seize life insurance money granted to a Cape Breton man found not criminally responsible for killing his wife.

The detail is noted by Justice Frank Edwards in followup comments to his ruling last week that Richard Maidment is entitled to his wife’s life insurance, which totals $200,000 plus interest.

Maidment, 42, who also uses the surname McNeil, killed Sarabeth Forbes on April 18, 2017, in the home they shared in Gardiner Mines, N.S. He was found not criminally responsible in December 2017.

Two years earlier, Forbes named Maidment as beneficiary to her life insurance and her son as a contingent.

In granting the money to Maidment — and not to the couple’s 12-year-old son, who is now being raised by his grandmother — Edwards noted Maidment doesn’t benefit from a crime because he didn’t commit a crime and is not a criminal.

Province ‘does not have an interest’ in case

In additional written comments released Monday, Edwards noted the court notified the province’s attorney general of the claim for the life insurance, made by Maidment’s mother on his behalf.

Edwards said in a letter dated Aug. 6, 2019, a solicitor of the civil forfeiture unit of the Justice Department wrote that “the province of Nova Scotia will not be participating in this matter.”

After the unit was advised that Forbes’s mother, Emeline Forbes, had filed an counter application for the insurance money on behalf of the couple’s son, a lawyer for the department advised the court that it “does not have an interest in the proceedings.”

Edward noted that because the province did not intervene in the case, “My decision did not deal with provisions of the Civil Forfeiture Act.”

The Justice Department declined an interview request.

But in a statement, spokesperson Barbara MacLean noted the Civil Forfeiture Act only allows for forfeiture of property — including money — to the province, and not to third parties.

“To clarify, this means when applying the act under any circumstances, forfeited money would go into the general revenue of the province, and would not be able to be given to a third party.”

MacLean declined to comment further, as it is a “private legal matter.”

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