TORONTO, Jan. 8 2008 – Most businesses have improved access to commercial insurance at more affordable prices than at any time in the past 4 years, according to recent surveys conducted by Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

“We’ve been working hard with stakeholders over the last few years to make insurance more accessible for businesses,” said Don Forgeron, IBC’s Vice-President for Ontario. “These surveys show that industry efforts have been fruitful.”

IBC conducted two surveys to gauge the experiences of commercial insurance consumers when insuring their businesses. One survey measured the experiences of commercial insurance consumers directly. The other survey involved speaking to brokers that sell commercial insurance, so that the change in their clients’ insurance rates could be tracked over time.

In 2002, the insurance industry produced the lowest earnings on record, leading to premium increases that created difficulties for many businesses and non-profit groups. A lack of basic information about insurance among commercial insurance consumers was seen as a major factor in the availability problem. To better educate commercial insurance consumers, IBC worked with its partners to develop workshops, seminars, and industry-specific guidelines on risk management. The results of the surveys reflect the success of these initiatives.

“Insurance consumers have spoken, and we’ve heard them,” says Forgeron. “Our survey shows us that for the most part commercial insurance consumers are satisfied with the insurance products available to them, but their knowledge is still incomplete. With tough economic times ahead we’ll be working hard to make sure consumers better understand their insurance needs.”

In the past year, IBC has revamped sections of its website and is now offering a free home inventory tool for individual consumers. In 2009, IBC will build on that success with a website update focused on making it easier for businesses to build their insurance knowledge, and the release of free business inventory software geared to small business users.

Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent nearly 95% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $38 billion.

To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.