Analysis of 119.2 million automobile insurance policies confirms provincial premium increases: IBC

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TORONTO – Insurance Bureau of Canada, the official statistical agency responsible for collecting and analyzing automobile insurance information, has just completed a review of its database including data on 119.2 million automobile insurance policies sold throughout Canada in the past 17 years. These data confirm that in every province growth in claims costs outpaced premium growth for several years, particularly injury claims, resulting in the recent growth in premiums.

“As the official statistical agency, IBC has access to the most comprehensive pool of insurance data available,” says IBC Chief Economist Paul Kovacs. “We reviewed data for each of the last 17 years. Information available in this study is based on the largest sampling of data available.”

This premium growth study revealed that from 1996 until 2000, auto insurance prices were stable. In contrast, average premiums grew 9% in 2001, 15% in 2002 and currently, premiums are 20% higher than they were last year. “There was a lag, but the higher cost of claims has finally led to higher prices,” says Mr. Kovacs.

The analysis shows average premium increases of 19.8% from March 2002 to March 2003 in the six provinces in which private insurers operate. The provincial increases were:

Change in the average auto insurance premium written
March 2002 to March 2003
Province Percentage Change
Ontario 20.1%
Alberta 15.4%
Nova Scotia 23.4%
New Brunswick 27.5%
Newfoundland 25.2%
PEI 13.9%
Weighted Average = 19.8%

“Drivers will have heard many figures bandied about during the past months in many regions,” says Mr. Kovacs. “IBC is working to provide a clear picture from a complete set of facts.”

IBC is designated by Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island as the official statistical agency responsible for auto insurance information. Provincial legislation and regulations require insurers to report all specified information about auto insurance premiums written and claims incurred. The data provide a foundation for regulatory supervision and policy development for the insurance market.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents the companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada. To view news releases and information, visit the media section of our web site at www.ibc.ca.