Insurance rates going up, up, up


Those who have recently renewed their insurance for their auto, home and/or business will have certainly been surprised at the increase in rates. And there is no doubt that brokers and agents got an earful.
The fault, if you can call it that, lies at the feet of the Automobile Insurance Rate Board that has approved rate hikes for some companies of almost 30 per cent. This comes after the provincial government decided not to renew a cap on insurance of five per cent annually that was passed by the former NDP government.
The NDP argued that the escalating premiums charged by insurance companies could not be allowed to continue; insurance costs paid by Alberta families and even those with a clean driving record were becoming a hardship.
The UCP, however, claims that the cap was resulting in some drivers being refused the ability to pay monthly, some being denied collision coverage and others not being able to get coverage, period.
Industry spokesmen said the cap was driving up rates and discouraging competition.
Still, it is tough to fathom approvals of rate increases as high as 28 and 25 per cent as was the case this year. It is unfortunate that those with clean driving records or years without a claim must bear these increases.
The government has appointed a committee to find a “real solution” and make recommendations by next spring. It will be interesting to see how they try to balance affordable premiums with injury lawsuits which are the biggest factor driving up insurance costs.