2020 has been a challenging year for Canadians.
In March, we saw consumers’ daily lives impacted by the onset of COVID-19. In many parts of Canada, consumers parked their cars because their jobs were adversely impacted by the pandemic. For others, cars sat in the driveway as we worked from home. Some of these arrangements may become permanent as employers realize that productivity had actually increased in this new work environment. Employees may find commuting to the office 5 days a week to be a thing of the past.
Consumers (myself included) started to take a closer look at their insurance bills and saw that the premium they were paying was disproportionate to these new driving patterns. Some demanded immediate premium relief in the face of the pandemic while others sought more choice in the types of insurance that was available for purchase.
Over the spring and summer of 2020, regulatory priorities turned to working with insurers to provide Canadians with the immediate economic relief that they demanded. This relief came in the form of rebates, refunds, rate reductions and other measures aimed specifically at customers facing of personal financial hardship. While we remain uncertain about how long this pandemic will last, we will be left with a renewed consumer demand for more affordable and innovative insurance products, such as pay-as-you-drive and usage-based insurance pricing. As a result, regulators will need to find new pathways to facilitating innovation in the auto insurance space.
If there is a silver lining to 2020, it may be that we find ourselves on the verge of seeing auto insurance evolve more quickly in the coming years than any of us could have ever imagined. Regulators across the country continue to manage an upward pressure on auto insurance rates and auto insurance remains on the agenda for many provincial governments. Some provinces are in the midst of conducting reviews of their insurance product or the way that they regulate auto insurance rates. Some are doing both.
For CARR, this will mean that we need to double our efforts to keep pace with change on a national level, but to also try to continue to advance our work to harmonize rate regulation processes wherever possible.
CARR have made great strides in becoming recognized as an association that presents a national perspective on auto insurance rate regulation and this recognition provides us with a valuable forum for regulators to educate, discuss and share expertise, and keep pace with change through 2020 and beyond.
I am confident that with the expertise and commitment of our Association members and their staff, we will rise to the challenge.
Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to CARR initiatives.