February 14, 2020 by David Gambrill
Most property and casualty insurance professionals across the country would like to see a single business model for auto insurance across Canada – as long as it’s the one in their home province, it seems.
In a recent online poll about public and private auto insurance, Canadian Underwriter heard the preferences of more than 950 of its P&C insurance industry readers.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of our readers answered ‘Yes’ when asked if Canada should have a single business model for auto insurance. That result was consistent across all provinces, with the weakest support for the statement being in Alberta (57% said yes) and Quebec (52%), and the strongest support being in the Prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (68%) and Ontario (64%).
But as is typical in Canada, when it comes to asking people which auto insurance business model they preferred — whether public, private or some hybrid mix between the two — our reader’s preferences tended to favour whatever model was in place in their own particular provincial jurisdiction.
So, for example, 59% of Ontarians said they preferred a private auto insurance model, which is already in place in Ontario. Eighty-six percent of Quebeckers polled preferred a ‘hybrid’ mix between public and private auto insurance, which already exists in Quebec (e.g. private insurers cover damage to the cars, while the government controls accident benefits). Seventy-seven percent of Atlantic Canadian respondents supported a private auto insurance system, which they have known historically. And in B.C., a 42% majority said they preferred a public auto system (already in place), whereas 32% said they would prefer a private auto system. (See the full regional breakdowns below.)
Asked whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the existing auto insurance regimes within their own provinces, most respondents’ answers signalled a general content with their existing auto insurance regimes.
In B.C., for example, which has seen a lot of debate recently about the province’s public auto insurance model, 43% said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the current public auto regime, while 41% reported being either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
In Alberta, home to a private auto system, 50% of the province’s respondents were satisfied with the status quo, while only 29% were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
In the Prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 65% of respondents reported being satisfied/very satisfied with their existing public auto systems, versus only 19% who were dissatisfied/very dissatisfied.
In Ontario, 42% of respondents were satisfied/very dissatisfied with the province’s private auto regime, whereas 33% were not satisfied to some degree.
Fully 85% of Quebec respondents gave their hybrid system of auto insurance a thumbs-up, with only 9% expressing any degree of dissatisfaction.
And in Atlantic Canada, where New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador all have private auto insurance systems, respondents backed their regimes with a 70% show of satisfaction, as opposed to only 18% who were in some way dissatisfied with the status quo.
Here’s a full breakdown of the auto insurance systems that each of the region’s respondents said they preferred. When asked, ‘Which auto insurance system do you prefer?’ the regional answers broke down as follows (numbers may not add up to 100% because of rounding):
Hybrid (Public/Private) 26%
Hybrid (Public/Private) 17%
(Saskatchewan and Manitoba)
Hybrid (Public/Private) 21%
Hybrid (Public/Private) 26%
Hybrid (Public/Private) 86%
Hybrid (Public/Private) 6%