IBC presents case for confidentiality of proprietary information to Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board

HALIFAX, Aug. 26, 2004 – The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) made a presentation today to the Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board (NSIRB) hearing intended to determine which documents filed in rate applications should be released to the public. This presentation follows IBC’s response to the NSIRB in mid-August.

“We believe that certain rate filing information should be publicly released at the appropriate time to both protect consumers and foster a competitive marketplace,” says Don Forgeron, Vice President, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “The real issue centres on what that information is, and when it should be released.”

In its presentation, IBC explained that because the automobile insurance industry is highly competitive, much of the information of individual companies is confidential, strategic and proprietary. If the NSIRB was to release all of this information publicly, it would create conditions that Canadian competition laws forbid by effectively allowing competitors to exchange such information.

“Advance disclosure of price changes would not benefit the public,” stated Forgeron. “Competition provides an incentive to insurers to keep costs and rates low. Any advance notice of competitors’ prices reduces this incentive,” says Forgeron, indicating that timing is a critical factor. “Prior to the Board approving the rates all information should remain confidential,” he said. “However once the rates are approved, some information, including the rates themselves, can and should be made public.”

At the NSIRB hearing, IBC indicated that while the insurance companies it represents wish to cooperate with the NSIRB in its work, their ability to do so will be hampered if the confidentiality of their information cannot be protected in a reasonable way.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents more than 90% of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada.

To view IBC’s full submission to the Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board on this matter, please click here for a PDF copy.

For more information, visit IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.