Over the Easter weekend, the provincial government of Alberta published a new report into the region’s auto insurance industry, which found that insurers generated over a billion dollars in profit in 2020.
The Superintendent of Insurance 2020 Annual Report found that for 2020, auto insurers operating in Alberta made a total of $1.3 billion in profits – over $150 million higher than what they made in 2019.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) has accused Alberta’s currently ruling United Conservative Party (UCP) of releasing the report during the Easter holiday to suppress the data that insurers made a significant profit. In a press conference last week, Calgary-Mountain View MLA Kathleen Ganley also accused auto insurers of profiting thanks to UCP policies, noting that Premier Jason Kenney had scrapped a cap on auto insurance rate increases in 2019 – a cap that the previous NDP government had implemented.
“They were able to do this because the UCP removed the cap we put in place to limit increases to premiums,” said Ganley. That’s $385 million more out of the pockets of Alberta drivers in a single year. No wonder the UCP tried to hide the report before we called them out on it. No wonder they tried to bury it ahead of a long weekend.”
According to the NDP, the new data suggests that there was an increase of $385 million in auto insurance premiums for Albertans in 2020, hence the sizable profit. The NDP additionally accused the UCP of attempting to suppress the superintendent’s report for 2020 and 2021, Driving.ca reported.
CTV News reached out to the Alberta government for comment on the matter, and officials said that legislation – specifically, Bill 41 – helped to stabilize auto insurance rates in the province. The government also explained that while profits for insurers were up in 2020, several insurers have since applied for rate reductions, with seven rate adjustments being approved.
Officials also said that they took into account that Alberta drivers were driving less due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When you visit the Auto Insurance Rate Board’s website that details the quarterly rate filings, you can see which have filed for reductions, and also the weighted average of approved rate changes," said Kassandra Kitz, press secretary for Alberta Finance Minster Travis Toews, told CTV News in an email statement.