Atlantic Canadians want government to do more to control auto insurance rates: Poll

ST. JOHN’S, NF, July 25,2002 – More than one-half of Atlantic
believe that changes in the current automobile insurance system are
which is consistent with figures reported a year ago, according to a
released today by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The poll was
conducted in
June, 2002, by Corporate Research Associates of Halifax.

Overall, a plurality of Atlantic Canadians still believe that
provincial government has a responsibility to deal with the issue of
automobile insurance rates. This number has increased since last
year. Results
also suggest that the number of Atlantic residents who believe
rates should be addressed by either consumers or the public
utilities and
regulatory boards has just about doubled.

A large majority of Atlantic residents believe that rates have
over the past few years, primarily because of the rising cost of
claims and
injuries. Eighty-one per cent of those asked said the cost of auto
has increased either significantly or somewhat in the past few
years. Forty-
four per cent point to rising costs of claims and injuries as the
number one
contributing factor behind higher auto insurance costs. To a lesser
public perception is that these higher costs are a result of
insurance fraud
or false claims. Fewer believe that hikes are related to insurance

“For many years, insurers have been asking governments to make
the much-
needed changes for the sake of all drivers in Atlantic Canada,” says
Forgeron, Regional Vice-President of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
“We are sharing these recent results with government officials
because it
is they who decide, through legislation, on the kind of auto
companies are allowed to sell,” says Forgeron.

When asked what amount of insurance claim payments should be
toward expenses such as medical rehabilitation, pain and suffering,
repairs to
vehicles, and compensation for lost income; residents ranked medical
rehabilitation and repairs to vehicles as the most important

“In reality, the opposite trend is actually occurring,” says
Forgeron. “A
recent study on bodily injury closed claim files tells us that the
percentage of claims dollars goes towards compensation for pain and

The Bodily Injury Closed Claim studies conducted in New
Brunswick, Nova
Scotia and Newfoundland indicate that the percentage of total
dollars that goes towards compensation for pain and suffering is
61%, 67% and
57% respectively. These studies also reveal that in New Brunswick,
percentage of settlement dollars that goes towards lost income and
rehabilitation is approximately 31%; in Nova Scotia, 23%; and in

Industry estimates that the percentage of total settlement
dollars that
goes towards repairing vehicles in New Brunswick is approximately
21%; in Nova
Scotia, 24%; and in Newfoundland, 23%.

The data was collected through telephone interviews with a
sample of 1504 residents in Atlantic Canada, age 18+. A sample of
this size
can expect to yield a margin of sampling error of +/- 2.5 percent.

A copy of the report highlights and statistical breakdowns by
province is
available at the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s consumer centre in
(902-429-2730, ext. 227 or at 1-800-565-7189, ext. 227) or you can
download a
copy from the IBC Web site at

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association
of the
private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents
about 200
companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the non-government
home, car
and business insurance sold in Canada. Visit the media section of
the bureau’s
Web site for more news releases and information.