Consumer Advocate 2007 Annual Report
We are pleased to provide you with a copy of our report for the 2007 calendar year. The highlight for 2007 was the implementation of an agreement reached in 2006 between the provincial government and the automobile insurance industry. According to the provisions of that agreement, announced on December 4, 2006, two important measures took effect on March 1, 2007. First, the use of gender as a rating factor became a prohibited underwriting practice, and second, consumers began benefiting from an average 13.5 % reduction in insurance company rates. There is also another very important element of the agreement that will come into force at the start of 2008. It consists in a new territories system for rate-setting purposes that will replace the current one. This new system was conceived, developed, and created in 2007.
In terms of our office’s activities, it should be noted that we handled 1,739 insurance files in 2007, compared with 1,848 in 2006 and 1,187 in 2005.
In the area of auto insurance alone, we handled 1,274 files, or 73% of the files for 2007, compared with 82% in 2006 and 81% in 2005. This is an indication not only that there was an improvement in the area of auto insurance, but also that consumers are increasingly aware of the fact that our mandate takes in other types of insurance as well, such as life, sickness, home, and disability insurance.
For the third year in a row, Gloucester County topped the list with 30% of the files handled by our office in 2007, followed by Westmorland County with 15%.
The nature of the files handled in 2007 was as follows:
Problems relating to premiums……….… 41%
Problems relating to claims …..………... 34%
General information ……..………….…... 25%
In comparison with 2006, the number of files relating to premiums dropped by almost 10%, while those relating to claims rose by almost 10%. The percentage of files relating to general information remained more or less the same.
In 2007, a new website (www.insurance-assurance.ca) was created. After only one year, it can be considered a resounding success. Figures show that our site received more than 20,000 visits during its first 12 months of operation.
As for 2008, we will be looking at the implementation of the new territories system in the auto insurance market. This is a major change, and it remains to be seen what the impact will be on consumers in the various parts of this province.