The Alberta Opposition made a suggestion to help Albertans save money on auto insurance on Friday, proposing the government freeze premiums for a year.
The call follows a new report that found private insurers increased profits by more than $150 million between 2019 and 2020. Overall, the industry benefited by $1.3 billion l year, according to the report.
An independent analysis found that insurance company surpluses in 2020 and 2021 totaled around $2 billion.
On Friday, the NDP released a list of five companies asking for increases of up to 5%, as they pointed out that rates were up overall since the start of the pandemic.
“There were fewer vehicles on the road, fewer collisions and that should have led to lower rates. And in fact, in other provinces, this is the case. But not in Alberta, auto insurance rates have skyrocketed,” said NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips.
“Private companies are going to do what private companies do. But it was the UCP’s responsibility to watch over ordinary people and they failed Alberta families.”
Last week, Premier Jason Kenney accused the NDP of trying to introduce “Soviet-style” public insurance. He acknowledged that premiums for some have increased since 2019, but pointed out that rates have fallen in the province by 0.8% overall over the past 12 months.
The industry had no choice but to raise rates on some policies due to increased payouts in personal injury cases, Kenney said April 19.
“The problem we had two or three years ago was that a lot of companies were losing money in the Alberta market and pulling out,” he told reporters at the time.
Kenney believes more choice in a free market will determine fair rates, and his government has provided a list of seven companies that are cutting driver rates.
“Auto insurance rates have stabilized following the passage of Bill 41 in the last session, which addressed many of the underlying issues in the insurance industry that were driving rate increases,” he said. said UCP press officer Kassandra Kitz on Friday.
“Rates are currently sitting at minus 0.83% year-over-year, according to the Automobile Insurance Rates Commission.”
The NDP is concerned, however, that this number may be on the rise, and Leader Rachel Notley hopes to make this issue a priority when Albertans vote next.
“Albertans can go to the polls and choose if they want a UCP government that keeps letting the insurance companies keep picking their pockets, or if they want an NDP government that will help keep the family car on the road “, she said.
The next election is scheduled for May 29, 2023, but Notley said his team is preparing for early voting.