40% Insurance Premium Hike a "Manufactured Crisis"

    CALGARY, June 3 /CNW/ - The Insurance Bureau of Canada's request for a
40% insurance premium hike is nothing more than an attempt at manufacturing a
crisis, according to the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers' Association (ACTLA).
    Association President Jamie Cuming stated that the latest request for a
premium hike is a "standard tactic the insurance industry has used in Alberta
before - create a crisis over insurance rates and then try to get governments
to solve it". "The bottom line is that the winners in such a crisis are always
insurance company profits, and not consumers or victims," he added.
    ACTLA supports Finance and Enterprise Minister Iris Evans in her
contention that there is no evidence to support a rate increase of 40%.
    ACTLA's submission to the rate board hearings later this month confirms
the insurance industry has continued to earn profits of 20% or more, almost
double a reasonable rate and well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Further, the rate board's own actuaries report a sharp decline of 11.5% in the
number of auto insurance collision claims in Alberta in 2008. The AIRB
actuaries also criticize that premiums for basic insurance have been set too
high in every year since 2005.
    "We urge both Government and the Automobile Insurance Rate Board to
consider the facts about auto insurance and its effect on consumers - not on
increasing an already huge profit margin for Alberta auto insurers", Cuming
    On February 8, 2008, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench struck down the
Minor Injury Regulation which imposed a cap of $4,000 on non-pecuniary damages
suffered in 'minor' injuries. That decision was appealed and argued before a
3-member panel of the Alberta Court of Appeal on September 12, 2008. At the
time of this writing, the decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal has not
been handed down. ACTLA has supported and will continue to support, the
challenge to the Minor Injury Regulation.

For further information:

For further information: Jamie Cuming, ACTLA President, (403) 571-0555;
Rick Mallet, ACTLA Past President, (780) 428-0088; Lyn Bromilow, Executive
Director, 1-800-665-7248

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