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Cost of auto insurance up in Atlantic Canada during the past year: report

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The cost of auto insurance has increased by 6.52 per cent for the average driver in Atlantic Canada over the past year, a recent report has found.

LowestRates.ca, an online rate comparison site for insurance, mortgages, loans and credit card rates in Canada, released its Auto Insurance Price Index for the first quarter for 2019 on Tuesday.

The report found that men in Atlantic Canada are paying 4.52 per cent more than in the first quarter of 2018, and 0.70 per cent more than the last quarter.

Meanwhile, the percentage nearly doubled for women who are paying 10.41 per cent more than the first quarter of 2018, and 4.17 per cent more than last quarter.

All drivers aged 45 and over are paying 15.15 per cent more than in the first quarter of 2018 and 2.25 per cent more than last quarter.

A news release states the report found that rates are up across Ontario, Alberta and Atlantic Canada in the first quarter of 2019, with drivers in Alberta seeing the steepest increase in the country at 11.22 per cent since last year.

The release adds that the rise in prices has been exacerbated by the exit of several insurers from two of the largest markets in Canada — Ontario and Alberta. Esurance and AIG Insurance both announced departures from Canada in the past year.

More insurers have recently sounded the alarm on the growing cost of doing business in certain provinces.

“We’ve heard from our partners in both Alberta and Ontario that caps on pricing in those provinces have led to instances were insurers are paying out more in claims than they were taking in from premiums,” said Thouin. “These pricing pressures have resulted in some insurance companies and brokers doing less business in these provinces or exiting altogether, leading to less competition and higher prices.”

Last week in Newfoundland and Labrador, prior to the provincial election being called, government introduced a number of measures to help stabilize rising auto insurance premiums in the province, including the elimination of the remaining tax on automobile insurance.

Some of the key changes to the legislation include an increase in the deductible from $2,500 to $5,000 for bodily injury claims; introduction of treatment protocols for common injuries; no access to the Uninsured Automobile Fund for losses by uninsured motorists; direct compensation for property damage; requirement for insurance companies to notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles of the cancellation or expiration of insurance policies; and changes to procedural rules for motor vehicle collision claims.

Proposed amendments will also provide a mandated insurance discount for winter tire usage, implementation of underwriting guidelines concerning the optional use of telematics, and changes to the rate-setting process.

The changes came after a review of auto insurance in the province was conducted by the Public Utilities Board — which included public hearings — and a report that was filed to the provincial government on Jan. 29.

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Newfoundland and Labrador government eliminates auto insurance tax

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