Calgary, Alberta – A request by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) for a 40 per cent auto insurance premium hike in Alberta is nothing more than “an attempt at manufacturing a crisis,” according to the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers’ Association (ACTLA).
Association president Jamie Cuming stated that the latest request for a premium hike is “a standard tactic the insurance industry has used in Alberta before – create a crisis over insurance rates and then try to get governments to solve it. The bottom line is that the winners in such a crisis are always insurance company profits, and not consumers or victims.”
ACTLA supports Finance and Enterprise Minister Iris Evans in her contention that there is no evidence to support a rate increase of 40 per cent. In its submission to the rate board hearings, ACTLA confirms that the insurance industry has continued to earn profits of 20 per cent or more, almost double a reasonable rate and well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The association also said that the rate board’s own actuaries report a sharp recline of 11.5 per cent in the number of auto insurance collision claims in Alberta in 2008.
On February 8, 2008, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench struck down the Minor Injury Regulation, which imposed a cap of $4,000 on non-pecuniary damages suffered in minor injuries. The decision was appealed and argued before a panel of the Alberta Court of Appeal on September 12, 2008. A decision by that court has not yet been handed down.