Calgary, AB: An analysis of data released by the Alberta government shows that auto insurance companies operating in the province continue to reap significant windfalls to the tune of $1.1 billion in pre-tax profits in 2021.
The analysis was conducted by Craig A. Allen, an independent consulting actuary with extensive experience in the Canadian insurance industry. Mr. Allen reviewed the most recent semi-annual review report prepared for the Alberta Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) and found that over 2020 and 2021, the auto insurance industry in Alberta experienced more than $2 billion in pre-tax profits.
Pre-Tax Profit of the Alberta Private Passenger Auto Insurance Industry
|Accident Year||2020 Accident Year||2021 Accident Year||2020/21 Totals|
*Based on data as of June 2021
Factors that contributed to the industry windfalls include increased consumer premiums, reduced claim costs for injuries in keeping with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on driving patterns, and regulatory changes introduced in 2020 that benefitted the industry bottom line.
“My analysis finds that, since 2018, growth in premium income for the Alberta auto insurance industry has exceeded the rate of general inflation, while claims and other expenses for insurers have declined, in keeping with the reduced claims activity that began with the COVID-19 pandemic. These trends have resulted in increased levels of profit for the industry,” says Craig Allen.
In October 2020, the Government of Alberta released Bill 41. Legislation it said would create a more affordable insurance system for consumers. Several changes in the legislation befitted insurance companies including a reduction to the rate of interest that insurers have to pay for delaying settlements with injured consumers. This change alone saved the industry $200 million between 2020 and 2022. Despite the industry savings, Alberta consumers have yet to see relief on premiums.
“There is now a significant and growing disconnect between premiums and insurer costs,” says Keith McLaughlin, communications coordinator for FAIR Alberta. “The insurance industry is making billions in pre-tax profits while consumers continue to be left without any relief on premiums. We believe the insurance regulator, the AIRB, should freeze premiums until the relationship between insurer costs and consumer premiums is brought back into balance.”
On a national basis, according to figures released by the Office of the Superintendent for Financial Institutions, pre-tax profits for the property and casualty insurance industry in Canada have more than tripled between 2019 and 2021, from about $3.4 billion to $10.3 billion.
ABOUT FAIR ALBERTA
FAIR Alberta is a coalition of Albertans including concerned consumers, medical professionals, injured Albertans, and members of the legal community who are committed to protecting the rights of consumers and individuals that have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. FAIR works to ensure that the laws applying to injury victims are fair, that auto insurance companies are accountable to the premium paying public, and that individual Albertans receive fair compensation and appropriate treatment options for their injuries.
ABOUT CRAIG A. ALLEN
Craig A. Allen is a consulting actuary, based in New York, NY, who has practiced both independently and for property/casualty insurance companies in Canada and the U.S. for more than 30 years. Since 2015, he has served as chair of the Actuarial Evidence Committee of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. He also served a 3-year term as Eastern Vice President of the National Association of Forensic Economics in 2014-2017.
Communications Coordinator, FAIR Alberta